ASX banks break support

The big banks fell sharply on the week’s turmoil, with the ASX 300 Banks Index breaking support at 8500. Breach signals a primary trend reversal, offering a medium-term target of 8000*.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target: 8500 – ( 9000 – 8500 ) = 8000

Resources stocks rallied over the week. Expect strong resistance on the ASX 300 Metals & Mining index at 3000.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Iron ore continues in a bearish narrow consolidation above support at $60. Breach would offer a short-term target of $50*.

Iron ore

* Target: 60 – ( 70 – 60 ) = 50

These are ominous signs for the ASX 200 which is testing medium-term support at 5700. A sharp fall on Twiggs Money Flow flags strong selling pressure. Breach of primary support at 5600* would signal a reversal, offering a target of 5200*.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5600 – ( 6000 – 5600 ) = 5200

ASX 200 bearish consolidation

The big banks fell sharply on news of a new levy on bank liabilities in the latest budget. At this stage the ASX 300 Banks Index merely shows a secondary reaction. Breach of 8500, however, would signal a primary trend reversal, offering a medium-term target of 8000*.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target: 8500 – ( 9000 – 8500 ) = 8000

Resources stocks compensated, with the ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index rallying to test resistance at 2850/2900. Breakout is unlikely given the weak lead from iron ore. Reversal below 2700 remains likely and would strengthen the bear signal for resources.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Iron ore formed a bearish consolidation above support at $60. Breach would offer a short-term target of $50*.

Iron ore

* Target: 60 – ( 70 – 60 ) = 50

Selling of the Aussie Dollar continues, with a medium-term test of primary support at 71.50/72.00 now likely.

Aussie Dollar

Consolidation of the ASX 200 above support at 5800 is a bearish pattern. Breach would signal a correction to test primary support at 5600*. Twiggs Money Flow still indicates long-term buying pressure and only a fall below zero would warn of a reversal.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 – ( 6000 – 5800 ) = 5600

2 More Warning Signs for the ASX

The recent Iron ore rally has faded and the commodity is again testing support at $60. Twiggs Momentum (13-week) below zero indicates a primary down-trend.

Iron ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index broke support at 2850, warning of a down-trend. A Twiggs Money Flow peak below zero flags strong selling pressure.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Falling ore prices will place strong downward pressure on the ASX and the Aussie Dollar.

Aussie Dollar

ASX 300 Banks Index retreated below 9000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure. Follow-through below 8900, or Twiggs Money Flow below zero, would warn of a correction.

ASX 300 Banks

The large red engulfing candle on the weekly ASX 200 chart also warns of a (secondary) reversal. Breach of support at 5800 would signal a correction. Twiggs Money Flow still shows long-term buying pressure and only a fall below zero would warn of a market top (primary trend reversal).

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 + ( 5800 – 5600 ) = 6000

ASX stalls at 5800

Banks have run into resistance, with the ASX 300 Banks Index retreating below 9000. The recent false break (above 9000) is a mildly bearish sign but the long-tail on this week’s candle is mildly bullish. Follow-through above 9100 remains more likely and would signal an advance to 9500*.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target medium-term: 9000 + ( 9000 – 8500 ) = 9500

This is not a criticism of the policy, but recent rate hikes on investor mortgages become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Concerns about the housing market lead banks to hike rates. Higher rates discourage new borrowing, leading to a contraction in demand. Which in turn leads to lower house prices.

Miners continue their downward path. The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index has broken its long-term rising trendline, while Declining Twiggs Money Flow peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.

ASX 200

With its two biggest sectors meeting resistance, the ASX 200 is stuck at 5800. But rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow (above zero) signal buying pressure. Breakout above 5800 is likely and would signal a test of 6000*. Reversal below 5600 is unlikely but would warn of a correction.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 + ( 5800 – 5600 ) = 6000

ASX banks lead the charge

The ASX 200 followed-through above 5750 after respecting its new support level at 5600, indicating an advance to 6000*. Rising Twiggs Money Flow signals buying pressure.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 + ( 5800 – 5600 ) = 6000

Australian banks are leading the charge, with the ASX 300 Banks Index testing 9000. A trough high above zero on Twiggs Money Flow indicates strong buying pressure. Breakout above 9000 would signal another advance.

ASX 300 Banks Index

Bank profits have declined for the last two years, but Bad and Doubtful Debt Charges are not a major cause.

RBA Chart Pack: Bank Profits and Bad Debt Expenses

The main culprit is declining return on equity as banks beefed up capital ratios and risk-weighting on residential mortgages in response to pressure from APRA.

RBA Chart Pack: Bank Return on Equity

ASX 200 correction

The ASX 200 continues to test its new support level at 5600. Twiggs Money Flow is now declining, reflecting medium-term selling pressure. Breach of support is likely and would test the lower trend channel around 5500 but the primary up-trend is unchanged.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 + ( 5800 – 5600 ) = 6000

The ASX 300 Banks Index has undergone a sell-off in the last few weeks, weighing heavily on the broader index. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure. Respect of support at 8000 would indicate that the up-trend is intact.

ASX Small Ordinaries Index

ASX: Steam or froth?

The ASX 200 broke resistance at 5500. Follow-through above 5600 would confirm a primary advance with a long-term target of 6000*. Rising Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5600 + ( 5600 – 5200 ) = 6000

The ASX 300 Banks Index has followed through after breaking resistance at 8000. Expect retracement to test the new support level but respect is likely.

ASX 300 Banks

What could go wrong?

….Apart from a precarious property bubble in China fueling commodity exports, a property bubble in Australia fueled by record low interest rates and equally precarious immigration flows, declining business investment and slowing wages growth.

The ASX price-earnings ratio is close to historic highs, suggesting we are in Phase III of a bull market — where stocks are advanced on hopes and expectations of future growth rather than on concrete results. By all means follow the rally, but keep your stops tight.

ASX banks rally

The ASX 200 is testing resistance at 5500. Rising Money Flow indicates selling pressure has ended. Breakout above 5500 would complete a bear trap, indicating a primary advance to 5800*.

ASX 200

ASX 300 Banks Index followed through above 8000 after a brief retracement respected the new support level. Target for the primary advance is 8800*. A further secondary correction to test the new support level at 8000, however, should not be ruled out. A Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would strengthen the bull signal.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target medium-term: 8000 + ( 8000 – 7200 ) = 8800

ASX 200 runs into a hammer

The ASX 200 is again running into resistance, signaled by a hammer after the recent rally. In terms of Dow Theory, the primary down-trend is intact but retracement that respects the former primary support level of 5200 would suggest a bear trap. Recovery above 5500 is still in doubt but would offer a bull signal.

ASX 200

ASX 300 Banks Index broke out above 8000 but this week’s short candlestick body warns of hesitancy. Expect retracement to test the new support level. Failure of support would warn of a bull trap. Respect of support is as likely, however, and would confirm a primary up-trend with a target of 8800*. Recovery of Twiggs Money Flow above zero is still tentative at this stage.

ASX 300 Banks

* Target medium-term: 8000 + ( 8000 – 7200 ) = 8800

ASX Banks: Picking up pennies in front of the bulldozer

Earlier this week I wrote:

“The ASX 300 Banks Index broke through resistance at 8000. Twiggs Money Flow is still negative but recovery above zero now looks likely. Breakout would signal an advance to 8700 but I remain cautious and would wait for a retracement to respect the new support level.”

ASX 300 Banks Index

The picture changed within 24 hours. Breakout transformed into a false break, reversing below the 8000 support level. Twiggs Money Flow turned down and now recovery above zero looks unlikely.

Trading breakouts is like picking up pennies in front of a bulldozer. Especially when fundamentals offer scant support. I have never done an accurate count, but for every successful breakout there must me at least five, if not ten, false breaks and/or bull or bear traps. Not good odds if you want to preserve your capital. Far better to wait for confirmation, even if that means a higher entry price.

Australia & Canada’s experience with equal weighted indices

Correction to my earlier post. Equal-weighted indices don’t always outperform cap-weighted indices, as with the S&P 500. Australia’s ASX 100 Equal Weighted Index underperformed the cap-weighted ASX 100, recording annual growth of 3.79% (EWI) compared to 5.28% for the ASX 100 on a total return basis over the last 10 years.

ASX 100 Equal Weighted Index compared to cap-weighted ASX 100

Canada’s TSX 60 Equal Weighted Index, on the other hand, mimics the S&P 500. Equal Weight achieved an returns of 6.17% over the last 10 years compared to 5.33% for the cap-weighted index.

TSX 60 Equal Weighted Index compared to cap-weighted TSX 60

I will investigate further why Australia bucks the trend but I suspect the banks play a major role. The ASX 300 Banks Index substantially outperforms the broad ASX 300 Index.

ASX 300 Banks Index compared to ASX 300

ASX 200 stalls

Two short weekly candlesticks suggest the ASX 200 rally has stalled at 5500. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure. Reversal below the lower trend channel would warn of a test of primary support at 5000/5100. Breakout above 5600 is unlikely.

ASX 200

The ASX 300 Banks Index is testing resistance at 8000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow still warns of selling pressure. Breakout above 8000 would signal a primary up-trend but I would be cautious and wait for retracement to respect the new support level. There are some good fundamental reasons, like the real estate/apartment bubble, that suggest a reversal would be premature.

ASX 300 Banks Index

Australian banks rally

The ASX 200 is headed for another test of resistance at 5600. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure. Breakout above 5600 is unlikely and breach of the lower trend channel would warn of a test of primary support at 5000/5100.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5400 + ( 5400 – 5100 ) = 5700

The ASX 300 Banks Index formed a bullish higher trough above 7200 and is again testing resistance at 8000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow, however, warns of selling pressure. Respect of resistance remains likely. Breakout, however, would signal a primary up-trend.

ASX 300 Banks Index

Australia: ASX 200 weak but support for banks

The ASX 200 penetrated its lower trend channel, indicating that the up-trend is slowing. This week’s long tail indicates short-term buying pressure but not necessarily a reversal. Breach of primary support at 5100 would warn of another decline (4700). Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow indicates long-term selling pressure.

ASX 200

The ASX 300 Banks Index is consolidating between 7200 and 8000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow peaks warn of long-term selling pressure but this week’s blue candle suggests short-term support. A test of primary support at 7200 remains more likely but a failed swing that recovers to 8000 would be a bullish sign. Breakout above 8000 (still unlikely) would signal a primary up-trend.

ASX 300 Banks Index

Crude oil and buybacks

At present, stock prices are heavily influenced by the price of crude oil. Whichever direction crude takes, stocks are likely to follow. The current rally in Light Crude (June 2016 Futures) is testing resistance at $42/barrel. Respect would warn of another test of primary support at $32. Breach of $32 would offer a target of $22/barrel* but we are more likely to see further consolidation (between $32 and $42) first.

WTI Light Crude June 2016 Futures

* Target calculation: 32 – ( 42 – 32 ) = 22

Another major factor influencing prices is corporate buybacks. Lu Wang at Bloomberg points out that inflows/outflows from managed funds are dwarfed by repurchases:

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index constituents are poised to repurchase as much as $165 billion of stock this quarter, approaching a record reached in 2007. The buying contrasts with rampant selling by clients of mutual and exchange-traded funds, who after pulling $40 billion since January are on pace for one of the biggest quarterly withdrawals ever.

Corporate buybacks v. Fund Outflows on S&P 500

Of more concern is that we are approaching the March quarter-end. Repurchases are expected to fall dramatically in April.

Global

Dow Jones Global Index continues to test resistance at 300 and the descending trendline. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum continues to flag a strong primary down-trend. Respect of resistance is likely and reversal below 290 would warn of another decline. Breach of 270 would confirm. Penetration of the descending trendline, however, would warn that the down-trend is losing momentum and a bottom is forming.

Dow Jones Global Index

* Target calculation: 270 – ( 300 – 270 ) = 240

North America

The S&P 500 broke resistance at 2000 and rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Respect of short-term support at 2100 would indicate a rally to 2100. But I remain wary of this rally.

S&P 500 Index

A look at the monthly chart explains why. Respect of 2100, or even a feint (false break) above the previous high of 2170 would keep the weight on the sell side (an outgoing tide). Declining 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, warns of a primary down-trend.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 1900 – ( 2100 – 1900 ) = 1700

A CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) peak below 20 indicates that (short-term) market risk has eased. But our longer-term risk measures continue to warn of elevated risk.

S&P 500 VIX

Canada’s TSX 60 is testing resistance at 800. Expect stubborn resistance at the former primary support level. A correction to test support at 700 is likely. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Momentum above zero would indicate that the primary down-trend has ended. Penetration of the descending trendline suggests that a bottom is forming. A higher trough on the next correction would be a bullish sign.

TSX 60 Index

Europe

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 found resistance at 3100 but bullish divergence on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow suggests that a test of 3300 is likely. The primary trend remains down and a lower peak, followed by reversal below 3000, would warn of decline to 2500*.

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3500 – 3000 ) = 2500

Germany’s DAX is similarly testing resistance at 10000. Breakout would indicate an advance to 11000. Buying pressure on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow appears secondary. Reversal below 9300 would warn of another decline.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9500 – ( 11000 – 9500 ) = 8000

The Footsie found stronger than expected resistance at 6250. Reversal below 6000 would warn of another test of 5500. Breach of the descending trendline suggests that a bottom is forming. A higher trough would favor a reversal. While a trough above zero on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow would strengthen the signal.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6000 – ( 6500 – 6000 ) = 5500

Asia

The Shanghai Composite Index is consolidating in a narrow range between 2700 and 2900, suggesting continuation of the primary down-trend.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index encountered stubborn resistance at 17000. Respect would warn of another test of 15000, while breakout would be likely to encounter further resistance at 18000. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow holding above zero is encouraging but I expect the primary down-trend is far from over.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 17000 – ( 20000 – 17500 ) = 15000

India’s Sensex is testing resistance at 25000. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow reflects strong (medium-term) buying pressure. Narrow consolidation below resistance suggests breakout is likely, which would test the upper trend channel at 26000. Respect of the trend channel is likely and would warn of another test of 22500*.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 25000 – ( 27500 – 25000 ) = 22500

Australia

The ASX 200 is testing resistance at 5150 and the descending trendline. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. This is a bear market and respect of resistance is likely to warn of another decline. Penetration of the descending trendline, however, would warn that a bottom is forming. Reversal below 5000 is likely and would warn of another test of 4700, while breach of 4700 would offer a target of 4400*.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 4800 – ( 5200 – 4800 ) = 4400

The Banks Index is also testing its descending trendline. Respect is likely and would warn of another decline. Penetration would again suggest that a bottom is forming.

ASX 300 Banks