Dow Hits Another Milestone, But Signs of Caution Loom – WSJ

By Corrie Driebusch and Michael Wursthorn Updated Oct. 18, 2017 9:04 p.m. ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average powered past 23000 on Wednesday, but the latest milestone masks a potentially worrisome trend: investors keep yanking money out of stock funds.

Investors pulled roughly a net $36 billion out of U.S. stock mutual and exchange-traded funds in the third quarter, according to EPFR Global. Overall in 2017, more money has flowed out of such funds than has flowed in, EPFR data show, even as the Dow has climbed to 51 fresh highs this year….

Source: Dow Hits Another Milestone, But Signs of Caution Loom – WSJ

Steady growth in US hours worked

Growth of total hours worked, calculated as Total Nonfarm Payroll multiplied by Average Hours worked, improved to 1.575% for the 12 months to May 2017.

Total Hours Worked

And the April 2017 Leading Index, produced the Philadelphia Fed, is tracking at a healthy 1.64%. Decline below 1.0% is often an early warning of a slow-down; below 0.5% is more urgent.

Hourly Wage Rate Growth and Core CPI

Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to advance. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow signal long-term buying pressure.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Dow Jones Transportation Average is slower, headed for a test of resistance at 9500. But recent breakout of Fedex above $200 is an encouraging sign and the index is likely to follow.

Dow Jones Transportation Average

We are in stage III of a bull market, but this can last for several years.

Trump Turmoil

Discussion of a possible impeachment action against President Donald Trump is rife in the media and seems to have spooked financial markets.

The Dollar Index fell through support at 98.50, signaling another decline. The long-term target is 93.00.

Dollar Index

Gold rallied, breaking through resistance at $1250/ounce. Follow-through above $1300 would signal another advance, with a target of the 2016 high at $1375.

Spot Gold

Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated from resistance at 21000. Expect a test of medium-term support at 20400. Reversal below 20000 would be cause for concern.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The S&P 500 is headed for a test of medium-term support at 2320. Breach would likewise signal a strong correction.

S&P 500

We are likely to get a secondary correction but I expect the bull market to continue. Impeachment of Trump would be a temporary setback and would make me more bullish on the long-term outlook.

It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out,
than outside the tent pissing in.

~ President Lyndon Johnson on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover whom he mistrusted

Nasdaq buying pressure

The Nasdaq 100 continues its impressive climb, shown here on a monthly chart. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow signal strong buying pressure and a test of 6000 is likely.

Nasdaq 100

Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to test resistance at 21000 after a shallow correction. Elevated troughs on Twiggs Money Flow again signal buying pressure. Breakout is likely and would signal a fresh advance, with an immediate target of 22000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Dow prepares for a fresh advance

Dow Jones Industrial Average is testing resistance at 21000 after a shallow correction. Rising troughs above zero on Twiggs Money Flow signal strong buying pressure. Breakout is likely and would signal a fresh advance, with an immediate target of 22000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Small Cap stocks are also advancing, with the Russell 2000 Index testing resistance at 14.00. Breakout is likely and would offer an immediate target of 15.00.

Russell 2000 Small Caps

A broad advance across large and small caps, suggests low market risk. Advance of only large caps would indicate that investors are risk averse. Advance of only small caps normally occurs towards the frothy end of stage III of a bull market — when the smart money is taking profits while the dumb money has lost all fear.

Dow consolidation

Dow Jones Industrial Average is consolidating in a narrow band between 20400 and 20800. Narrow bands in an up-trend signal accumulation and breakout above 20800 would signal another advance.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Declining 21-day Twiggs money Flow is typical of a consolidation, provided it respects the zero line. A trough above zero confirms medium-term buying pressure.

Dow Descending Wedge

Dow Jones Industrial Average displays a descending broadening wedge on the daily chart. Thomas Bulkowski describes this as a “mid list performer ….found most often with upward breakouts in a bull market. Downward breakouts are quite rare.”

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The correction seems mild and lacks urgency from sellers. It is very likely to end with an upward breakout, above the wedge at 20800, signaling another advance. Watch for a failed down-swing within the wedge pattern. According to empirical testing done by Bulkowski, a partial decline has a high probability (87%) of resolving in an upward breakout.

Latest GDP numbers confirm that low growth of the past decade continues.

GDP & Forecast

The quick rule-of-thumb forecast — Private sector employee payroll x Average Hours Worked x Average Hourly Rate — has proved remarkably accurate and has become one of my favorite indicators.

Dow warns of a correction

The commentator’s curse. Three days after I posted that Dow Jones Industrial Average was consolidating in a bullish narrow band below resistance at 21000, the Dow breached support at 20800. Downward breakout warns of a correction with support at 20000. Declining 21-day Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure. Follow-through below 20600 would strengthen the (medium-term) bear signal but the primary trend remains up.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The false break above 21000 was a hint that all was not well with the trend. Unfortunately we often only see what we expect and miss the subtle clues.

The Dow is in Stage III of a bull market. This is confirmed by a primary up-trend on the Transportation Average, although the current month shows a correction.

Dow Jones Transportation Average

Small Caps indexes like the Russell 2000 also display a strong up-trend, reinforcing the Stage III conclusion.

Russell 2000 Small Caps

Likewise, the Nasdaq 100.

Nasdaq 100

I have not drawn conventional trendlines, on the above charts, through the lowest points in the up-trend. Instead I have dragged a linear regression line down to “touch” the mid-point lows. I find this offers a better fit in many cases where there is an initial (bounce) spurt at the start of the trend.

Dow breaches support

The commentator’s curse. Three days after I posted that Dow Jones Industrial Average was consolidating in a bullish narrow band below resistance at 21000, the Dow breached support at 20800. Downward breakout warns of a correction. Expect support at 20000. The false break above 21000 was a hint that all was not well with the trend. Unfortunately we often only see what we expect to see and miss the subtle clues.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The Dow is in Stage III of a bull market, with long-term Twiggs Money Flow signaling strong buying pressure. Chances of a (primary trend) reversal seem low.

[Correction: Breach of support was at 20800, not 21800.]

Dow bullish

Dow Jones Industrial Average is consolidating in a narrow band below resistance at 21000, a bullish sign. Strong buying pressure is also signaled by rising Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero. Breakout would offer a short-term target of 22000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Dow: How long will stage III last?

Dow Jones Industrial Average is testing resistance at 21000. Another narrow consolidation, as in December-January, would confirm strong buying pressure already signaled by rising Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

We are witnessing stage III of a bull market. While this is the final leg, it could last several weeks or several years. My guess is that it will last until the Fed is forced to hike interest rates in 2018, to cool inflation.

Dow Jones Industrials

Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week above 21000 for the first time. Twelve months ago the index was at 17000, an increase of 23.5 percent. Shallow retracements since then signal buying pressure, highlighted by Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero. The latest trough, higher than zero, reflects growing enthusiasm from investors.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Prices are rising faster than earnings in expectation of future growth. Clearly the Dow is in Phase III of a Bull Market. As I pointed out in December, this could last for several years.

Forward P/E turns back up

Dow Jones Industrials

Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to climb, heading for a target of 21000. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow signal strong buying pressure.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The S&P 500 follows a similar path.

S&P 500

With the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) close to historic lows around 10 percent.

VIX

However, at least one investment manager, Bob Doll, is growing more cautious:

“…we think the easy gains for equities are in the rearview mirror and we are growing less positive toward the stock market. We do not believe the current bull market has ended, but the pace and magnitude of the gains we have seen over the past year are unlikely to persist.”

Forward P/E Ratio

Bob Doll’s view is reinforced by recent developments with the S&P 500 Forward Price-Earnings Ratio. I remarked at the beginning of February that the Forward P/E had dropped below 20, signaling a time to invest.

Actual earnings results, however, have come in below earlier estimates — shown by the difference between the first of the purple (latest estimate) and orange bars (04Feb2017) on the chart below.

S&P 500 Forward Price-Earnings Ratio

In the mean time the S&P 500 index has continued to climb, driving the Forward P/E up towards 20.

This is not yet cause for alarm. We are only one month away from the end of the quarter, when Forward P/E is again expected to dip as the next quarter’s earnings (Q1 2018) are taken into account.

S&P 500 Forward Price-Earnings Ratio

But there are two events that would be cause for concern:

  1. If the index continues to grow at a faster pace than earnings; and/or
  2. If forward earnings estimates continue to be revised downward, revealing over-optimistic expectations.

Either of the above could cause Forward P/E to rise above 20, reflecting over-priced stocks.

Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.

~ Warren Buffett

Dow and Nasdaq: It’s a bull market

The Nasdaq 100 is in blue sky territory, having broken clear of its Dotcom high at 4900. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow signal long-term buying pressure. A correction to test the new support level remains likely but this is unlikely to upset the bull market.

Nasdaq 100

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is also in a bull market, headed for a test of 21000. Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero again indicate strong buying pressure.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The Dow Jones Transport Average is also in blue sky territory having respected its new support level at 9000. The up-trend provides bull market confirmation required by classic Dow Theory.

Dow Jones Transport Average

Dow: Expect further advances

The Dow Jones Industrial Average respected support at 20000, signaling another advance. Probably to 21000 but it could carry as far as the upper trend channel at 22000. Twiggs Money Flow troughs above zero indicate strong buying pressure.

ASX 200

* Target: 18000 + ( 18000 – 16000 ) = 20000

Dow breaks 20,000

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the important psychological barrier of 20,000 this week. The news was greeted with cheers from the media, many advisers and investors.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Older readers may recall a similar event when the Dow broke 1000 on November 14, 1972. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times that day:

The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 1,000 mark yesterday for the first time in history.

It finished at 1,003.16 for a gain of 6.09 points in what many Wall Streeters consider the equivalent of the initial breaking of the four-minute mile.

“This thing has an obvious psychological effect,” declared one brokerage-house partner. “It’s a hell of a news item. As for the permanence of it — well, I just don’t know.”

Last Friday, the Dow surpassed 1,000 during the course of a day’s trading, but it fell back below the landmark figure by the end of the session.

But yesterday the market was not to be denied. The Dow finally put it all together, the peace rally, the re-election of President Nixon, the surging economy, booming corporate profits and lessening fears about inflation and taxes and controls and other uncertainties of 1973.

…..International Business Machines, Wall Street’s best known glamour issue, moved up 11 1/4 points to 388, its best price of the day.

…..An office broker, watching the stock tape from his desk downtown, murmured in wonderment: “There’s a sort of renewed confidence in the whole economic outlook.”

The broker who questioned the permanence of the move must have had a crystal ball. Three months later, the Dow reversed below 1000, commencing a bear market that ended at 570.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Four years later, in 1976, the Dow again rallied and broke 1000. Only to retreat in another bear market that carried as low as 750. A third advance carried the Average above 1000 in 1981, before another retreat, this time to 780.

Only in 1982, a full ten years after the first breakout, did the Dow finally break clear of 1000, advancing strongly over the next few years.

The next significant barrier for the Dow was 10,000. Breakout took place in 1999, during the Dotcom boom, with a minimum of fuss. At least one pundit at the time predicted the Dow would reach 100,000 by 2020.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Contrary to initial indications, the 10,000 level also proved a formidable barrier, with breach of support in 2001 heralding the start of a bear market that fell as low as 7200.

Recovery in 2003 appeared robust, with two secondary corrections respecting the new support level at 10,000. But the global financial crisis in 2008 saw the Dow fall to 6500. It took more than ten years after the initial breakout before we could comfortably say that the Dow had broken clear of 10,000.

The next important barrier is the current 20,000. It may be naive to think we have seen the last of it.

If past records are anything to go by, we could be in for an interesting decade.

It’s a bull market

Dow Jones Industrial Average successfully tested the new support level at 18000 and has now broken resistance at 19000, confirming the target of 20000*. Rising Twiggs Money Flow indicates selling pressure has ended. Expect a brief retracement to test support at 19000 but respect is likely.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target medium-term: 18000 + ( 18000 – 16000 ) = 20000

Charles Dow, founder of Dow Theory more than a century ago, always waited for confirmation from the Rail Average. Nowadays, railways have diminished in importance and we use the broader Transport Average which currently signals a primary up-trend after a lengthy “line” or narrow consolidation over the last 3 months.

Dow Jones Transport Average

It is also advisable to look for confirmation from the broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index.

The S&P 500 broke resistance at 2200, signaling a primary advance with a target of 2300*. Rising Twiggs Money Flow again indicates that selling pressure has ended.

S&P 500 Index

* Target medium-term: 2200 + ( 2200 – 2100 ) = 2300

The Nasdaq 100 recently set an all-time high after breaking resistance at its March 2000 high of 4700. Retracement twice respected the new support level and follow-through above 4900 would confirm another primary advance.

Nasdaq 100

Fedex surges

Bellwether transport stock Fedex surged to a new high this week, signaling an expected rise in economic activity in the US. A Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero also indicates strong buying pressure.

Fedex

Dow Jones Industrial Average is testing resistance at 19000. The doji star indicates indecision rather than a reversal. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates long-term selling pressure but completion of a trough above zero would negate this. A fall below 18500 would warn of a correction. Follow-through above 19000 is less likely but would indicate a fresh advance.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target medium-term: 18000 + ( 18500 – 17000 ) = 19500

The S&P 500 is testing resistance at 2200. The evening star pattern again indicates indecision rather than reversal. Breakout would complete a bullish inverted scallop pattern, which commenced in early July, signaling an advance to 2300. Declining Twiggs Money Flow remains bearish, favoring another retracement.

S&P 500 Index

* Target medium-term: 2100 + ( 2200 – 2000 ) = 2300