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The Week Ahead: Another Scare Like 2010, 2011, and 2012?

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Sign up|Log in Tom Aspray, Contributor I provide financial market analysis.
The Week Ahead: Another Scare Like 2010, 2011, and 2012?comments, called-out Comment Now Follow Comments Following Comments Unfollow Comments Comment Now Follow Comments Following Comments Unfollow Comments It was another rough week for the markets as the heavy selling came as the average investor was trying to digest the significance of the market rigging headline that I discussed last time. The selling hit panic levels on Thursday, but it is too early yet to conclude that the decline is already close to being over.
The technical picture last Wednesday allowed for two scenarios and, as of Friday, there is not enough evidence to be confident whether the large-cap Spyder Trust (SPY) and SPDR Dow Industrials (DIA) are going to join the Powershares QQQ Trust (QQQ) on the downside.
The plunge in the technology and biotechnology stocks is being tied to the perception that the economy is not strong enough to support the current high stock prices. This view is not really supported by the current numbers, as past market declines in this bull market have come in conjunction with much softer numbers than we are seeing now.
The current environment does remind me of the panic sell-offs that occurred in 2010, 2011, and 2012. I have circled these periods on the weekly close only chart of the S&P. For example, on August 27, 2010, there was this Bloomberg headline “El-Erian Says `Alarming’ Data Show U.S. Economy Slowing.
The S&P 500 had actually made its low in early July 2010, but had a secondary low at 1039, the day this article was published. Below the chart of the S&P 5000 is a chart of the S&P 500 Advance/Decline line which reveals that it had made a new high the prior April (point 1) . By February of 2011, the S&P 500 had risen to 1344.
In the summer of 2011, there was the massive decline that began in late July that was followed by heavy selling in early August in reaction to the budget impasse and downgrade of US debt. By September, the fear of a double dip recession was being widely discussed. On September 7, a CNBC headline read “US Economy Is Basically ‘Still In Recession’: Fed’s Evans.
The S&P 500 dropped to a low of 1074 on October 4, before reversing to the upside. The A/D line had made a new high in early July (point 2). A week after the low, there was strong technical evidence that the lows were in place, leading to my article “Be Bold, Be Fearless.Buy the Dip.” By April 2012, the S&P 500 was trading well above 1400.
The A/D line made a new high that April, but by the end of the month, it had moved into the corrective mode. By May, the concern was over the troubles in the Eurozone with this headline on May 27 from the telegraph “Lloyd’s of London preparing for euro collapse.
The S&P 500, which had traded as high as 1422 at the start of April, dropped to a low of 1266 on June 4, just five days after the article was published. The Euro dropped to a low of 1.2042 the next month and has been moving higher ever since. At the June lows, there were also strong technical signs that the correction was over, as I noted on June 6.
In the middle of September 2012, the A/D line made another new high (point 4), which is hard to tell from the chart. By the end of October, concerns over the economy and the outcome of the presidential election resulted in significant selling.
The S&P 500 had reached a high of 1474 in September and, by the time this headline appeared on November 7, it was down to 1394. The S&P bottomed on November 16 at 1343 and then rallied to close the year at 1426, despite a year end decline in reaction to the “fiscal cliff.
As the S&P 500 chart indicates, the A/D line has made a series of higher highs in 2013 and early 2014 (line 5) as its most recent high was on April 4. It does not yet show a new downtrend, which would be consistent with a deeper correction in the S&P 500 and NYSE Composite.
The bond market does seem to be a bit more worried as the yield on the 10 – Year T-Note looks ready to close at 2.63% as it has dropped below the lows of the past six weeks. The next strong support is in the 2.44-2.50% area and the weekly starc- band. The MACD shows no sign yet of bottoming as it is still in a downtrend, line c.
The economic calendar was quite light last week, though the mid-month reading from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment beat estimates on Friday as it came in at 82.6. This is the highest reading since last July. It is consistent with my view that the consumer will return with a vengeance as the weather warms up.
This week we get Retail Sales and the same store sales data was better than expected last week. Also, on Monday, we get Business Inventories. The Consumer Price Index is out on Tuesday, along with the Empire Manufacturing Survey and the Housing Market Index (HMI).
Long time readers will recall that it was the HMI that helped confirm the low in the housing market. In 2012, the HMI completed its bottom formation, line c, when it started a new uptrend at point b. On a technical basis, the HMI reached resistance at line a, but shows no signs yet that the uptrend is over.
Housing Starts will be released on Wednesday, and also Industrial Production. Thursday we get the weekly jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed Survey. The markets are closed on Friday for Good Friday but the Leading Indicators will be released.
The sellers took over last week as Thursday’s drop erased Wednesday’s gains and more selling hit the market on Friday. The PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) and iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM) have broken through more important levels of support but the other major averages have not.
The extent of the decline has many wondering if, or when, the NYSE Composite, Spyder Trust (SPY) and SPDR Dow Industrials (DIA) will follow. The NYSE is the broadest measure, and therefore, the most important.
The five-day MA of the percentage of Nasdaq 100 stocks above their 50-day MAs has dropped down to 37.96%, which is the lowest level since November of 2012. The three year chart shows that it did hit 15% in June of 2012 and was below 10% in the fall of 2011.
For the S&P 500, the 5-day MA is at 62%, which is the mean. In early February, it had a low just above 30%, so this does have further room to fall.
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I began analyzing the financial markets in 1982 when I became the research director for a financial advisory firm and provided regular market analysis on stocks, commodities, currencies and mutual funds. I am a technical analyst. Much of my focus was on how obscure technical indicators or methods, could be applied to the financial markets and used as an effective trading tool. Many of the indicators I have used for years, such as Gerry Appell's MACD and Welles Wilder's RSI, have subsequently gained wide popularity.
This page is devoted to sharing my insights and techniques in order to help you become a smarter trader/investor. Over the past twenty years I have traveled around the world several times, visiting all of the major financial centers as he taught professional traders and money managers my approach to the financial markets.
My method of stock selection starts with a proprietary scanning method to select a group of individual stocks for more extensive analysis. This includes an in-depth study of the volume patterns that I use to determine the strength of a stock's trend. Those with the strongest trend, either up or down, are then further analyzed to determine entry, exit and risk levels. I use Fibonacci retracement, projection and extension analysis to determine both profit objectives as well as stops.
The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
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