A Useful Interest Rate Indicator

2018 witnessed something of a “fake out” in the bond market.  After bottoming out in mid-2016 interest rates finally started to “breakout” to new multi-year highs in mid to late 2018. Then just as suddenly, rates dropped back down.

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Figure 1 displays the tendency of interest rates to move in 60-year waves – 30 years up, 30 years down.  The history in this chart suggests that the next major move in interest rates should be higher.Figure 1 – 60-year wave in interest rates (Courtesy: www.mcoscillator.com)

A Way to Track the Long-Term Trend in Rates

Ticker TNX is an index that tracks the yield on 10-year treasury notes (x10).  Figure 2 displays this index with a 120-month exponential moving average overlaid.  Think of it essentially as a smoothed 10-year average.

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Figure 2 – Ticker TNX with 120-month EMA (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

Interpretation is pretty darn simple.  If the month-end value for TNX is:

*Above the 120mo EMA then the trend in rates is UP (i.e., bearish for bonds)

*Below the 120mo EMA then the trend in rates is DOWN (i.e., bullish for bonds)

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Figure 3 displays 10-year yields since 1900 with the 120mo EMA overlaid.  As you can see, rates tend to move in long-term waves.

Figure 3 – 10-year yield since 1900 with 120-month exponential moving average

Two key things to note:

*This simple measure does a good job of identifying the major trend in interest rates

*It will NEVER pick the top or bottom in rates AND it WILL get whipsawed from time to time (ala 2018).

*Rates were in a continuous uptrend from 1950 to mid-1985 and were in a downtrend form 1985 until the 2018 whipsaw.

*As you can see in Figure 2, it would not take much of a rise in rates to flip the indicator back to an “uptrend”.

With those thoughts in mind, Figure 4 displays the cumulative up or down movement in 10-year yields when, a) rates are in an uptrend (blue) versus when rates are in a downtrend (orange).

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Figure 4 – Cumulative move in 10-year yields if interest rate trend is UP (blue) or DOWN (orange)

You can see the large rise in rates from the 1950’s into the 1980’s in the blue line as well as the long-term decline in rates since that time in the orange line.  You can also see the recent whipsaw at the far right of the blue line.

Summary

Where do rates go from here?  It beats me.  As long as the 10-year yield holds below its long-term average I for one will give the bond bull the benefit of the doubt.  But when the day comes that 10-year yields move decisively above their long-term average it will be essential for bond investors to alter their thinking from the mindset of the past 30+ years, as in that environment, long-term bonds will be a difficult place to be.

And that won’t be easy, as old habits die hard.

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Figure 5 is from this article from BetterBuyandHold.com and displays the project returns for short, intermediate and long term bonds if rates were to reverse the decline in rates since 1982.Figure 5 – Projected total return for short, intermediate and long-term treasuries if rates reverse decline in rate of past 30+ years (Courtesy: BetterBuyandHold.com)

When rates finally do establish a new rising trend, short-tern and intermediate term bonds will be the place to be.  When that day will come is anyone’s guess.  But the 10-year yield/120mo EMA method at least we have an objective way to identify the trend shortly after the fact.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

The Bartometer

May 5, 2019

Hello Everyone

2019 has rewarded us with average portfolio returns in a Moderate portfolio category between 8-14% so far since January 1, 2019*. A Moderate portfolio is a mutual fund portfolio with approximately 50-60% stocks and 30-40% bonds.

MARKET RECAP:

Since last month my computer models see the trends of the stock markets as Somewhat Cautious. Most of the sectors of the markets are at or near the old high of last September except:

  • The healthcare sector is down 7% from last year’s high
  • The small-cap sector is down 7%
  • The midcap sector is down 3% and a few more.However, overall, the indexes are at or near their old high, and this is where we need to address as to whether the markets will breakout or top out here and head lower. With the markets up so much from the lows in December, stocks are overdue for some consolidation following the major rally this year and at its old highs of last September**.
  • **See charts below as to whether the markets are overvalued and could sell off or continue to rise.

Where do we stand from an economic stance?

  1. The economy is still doing well:
    • Job growth is outstanding with 263,000 new jobs created last month
    • Unemployment at 3.6% is the lowest it has been in decades, and most economic measures are overall healthy.
    • The tax reduction to corporations is making earnings rise
    • The USA is enjoying the best overall economy in the world currently.Most of the economic surveys conducted suggested that the main problem with the markets is uncertainty with trade with China. The uncertainty could positively drop the markets down if the Trade War is not resolved in a positive outcome. Our economy has risen on an overall uptrend for about ten years, and it is overdue for a recession sometime over the next 1.5 to 3 years, but nothing seems to be on the horizon in the very near future.
  2. Interest rates remain relatively stable, and the most likely near-term outlook is for continued stability.

Index Averages

Some of the INDEXES of the markets both equities and interest rates are below. The source is Morningstar.com up until May 4, 2019. These are passive indexes.

*Dow Jones+13.57%
S&P 500+17.59%
NASDAQ Aggressive growth+22.20%
I Shares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) Small cap+20.10%
International Index (MSCI – EAFE ex USA)+13.10%
Moderate Mutual Fund+10.20%
Investment Grade Bonds (AAA)
+4.88%
High Yield Merrill Lynch High Yield Index+7.68%
Floating Rate Bond Index+5.17%
Fixed Bond Yields (10 year)+2.55% yield
The average Moderate Fund is up 10.2% this year fully invested as a 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds.*Explanation of each on the last page

If interest rates are peaking and look to be flattening or declining over the next year then investment grade or multisector bonds technically might be better than floating rate bonds. But diversification is important.

Source: AIQ TradingExpert Pro

The S&P is above. Notice the trend line in white. The technical indicators are Somewhat Cautious, in addition, this is not a time to add a good deal of money to the market. If you can see the white horizontal line at the top of the picture you will see that it corresponds with the high hit last September in the market. The old high hit on May 1, 2019 of 2954 intraday has to be broken through with a lot of volume or the S&P 500 could start to rollover. IMPORTANT, If 2904 is broken on close I will be getting more Cautious, if it closes below 2886, I will be getting Very Cautious as it would have clearly broken the 2019 Trend line. At that point, there would be some Buying support at 2852 its 50 day moving average.

The next graph underneath the S&P 500 shows the Momentum of the market is flattening out. This is also an indicator that the market is still good, but losing a little of the upside momentum and could fall here.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

The S&P 500 is right at its old high it hit last September. Traders are looking at this area very carefully as to whether it will break out of the 2954 number and follow through on the upside. I am Cautious on the market unless the S&P 500 rallies above the 2954 level on the S&P 500 and stays above that level for a least 2 to 3 days. If the S&P 500 closes below 2886 I would reduce some equity exposure as it would have broken a significant trend line and could push the S&P in a downtrend again. As for interest rates, they are back down to 2.55% on the ten-year bond. The tariff situation if not resolved would give investors a chance to sell and push the market lower. Other than that outside of ongoing political issues, the economy is doing relatively well, and a recession is not on the horizon, at least not over the next year. If you are a longer-term investor, stay the course, if you are in or nearing retirement, you may want to sell 10% of your holdings and rebalance your portfolio.

*A Support or support level is the level at which buyers tend to purchase or into a stock or index. It refers to the stock share price that a company or index should hold and start to rise. When a price of the stock falls towards its support level, the support level holds and is confirmed, or the stock continues to decline, and the support level must change.

Source: Investopedia

Support levels on the S&P 500 area are 2910, 2850, 2800, 2766, 2676 and 2600 areas. These might be BUY areas.

Support levels on the NASDAQ are 7979, 7801, 7572, and 7410.

On the Dow Jones support is at 26,240, 25856, 25,471 and 25,120. These may be safer areas to get into the equity markets on support levels slowly.

RESISTANCE LEVEL ON THE S&P 500 IS 2740. If there is a favorable tariff settlement, the market should rise short term.

Best to all of you,

Joe

Joe Bartosiewicz, CFP®

Investment Advisor Representative

Contact information:

Joe Bartosiewicz, FP®5, Colby Way Avon, CT 06001

SECURITIES AND ADVISORY SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH SAGE POINT FINANCIAL INC., MEMBER FINRA/SIPC, AND SEC-REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR.

Charts provided by AIQ Systems:

Technical Analysis is based on a study of historical price movements and past trend patterns. There is no assurance that these market changes or trends can or will be duplicated shortly. It logically follows that historical precedent does not guarantee future results. Conclusions expressed in the Technical Analysis section are personal opinions: and may not be construed as recommendations to buy or sell anything.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily the view of Sage Point Financial, Inc. and should not be interpreted directly or indirectly as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Securities and Advisory services offered through Sage Point Financial Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, an SEC- registered investment advisor.

Past performance cannot guarantee future results. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information presented in this letter should only be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. *There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will outperform a non-diversified portfolio in any given market environment. No investment strategy, such as asset allocation, can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

It is our goal to help investors by identifying changing market conditions. However, investors should be aware that no investment advisor can accurately predict all of the changes that may occur in the market.

The price of commodities is subject to substantial price fluctuations of short periods and may be affected by unpredictable international monetary and political policies. The market for commodities is widely unregulated and concentrated investing may lead to Sector investing may involve a greater degree of risk than investments with broader diversification.

Indexes cannot be invested indirectly, are unmanaged and do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses.

Dow Jones Industrial Average: A weighted price average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.

S&P 500: The S&P 500 is an unmanaged indexed comprised of 500 widely held securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

NASDAQ: the NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over the counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System

(IWM) I Shares Russell 2000 ETF: Which tracks the Russell 2000 index: which measures the performance of the small capitalization sector of the U.S. equity market.

A Moderate Mutual Fund risk mutual has approximately 50-70% of its portfolio in different equities, from growth, income stocks, international and emerging markets stocks to 30-50% of its portfolio indifferent categories of bonds and cash. It seeks capital appreciation with a low to moderate level of current income.

The Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index: A broad-based measure of the performance of non-investment grade US Bonds

MSCI EAFE: the MSCI EAFE Index (Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia, and Far East Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-US markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies’ representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends.

Investment grade bond index: The S&P 500 Investment-grade corporate bond index, a sub-index of the S&P 500 Bond Index, seeks to measure the performance of the US corporate debt issued by constituents in the S&P 500 with an investment grade rating. The S&P 500 Bond index is designed to be a corporate-bond counterpart to the S&P 500, which is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large cap US equities.

Floating Rate Bond Index is a rule-based, market-value weighted index engineered to measure the performance and characteristics of floating rate coupon U.S. Treasuries which have a maturity greater than 12 months.

Short Term Corporate Bond ETFs seek to track the shorter maturity side of the corporate bond market. These are debt securities issued by companies and can include investment-grade debt, lower-quality junk or high-yield bonds. Short-term bonds are generally defined as those with maturities of less than five years coupon U.S. Treasuries which have a maturity greater than 12 months.

The 10year Treasury note is a debt obligation issued by the United States government with a maturity of 10 years upon initial issuance. A 10year Treasury note pays interest at a fixed rate once every six months, and pays the face value to the holder at maturity.

Our market AI down signal 4/18/19

AI issued a market down signal of 99 on April 18, 2019. price Phase, our custom indicator that we use to confirm ratings turned down 4 days after the rating. Usually we like to see this indicator turn down closer to the rating, but the AI Expert system is often a little early.

The two significant rules rules that fired on this 99 down are below

“Intraday high prices of the market have increased to a 21 day high. Never the less, the advance/decline oscillator is negative. This unusual event is read as a very strong bearish signal that is often followed by an downward price movement. “

“Intraday high prices of the market have increased to a 21 day high. But the up/down volume oscillator if negative. In this uptrending market, this is taken as a very strong bearish signal that is often followed by downward price movements. “

The prior AI rating on the market was a 100 up on March 11, 2019 the market moved up over 850 points to the April down signal. Here are the AI rules that fired for this rating

“The market closing average has exceeded the 21 day exponentially smoothed average price. At the same time, accumulation is increasing in a strong down market. This is taken as a bullish signal that could be followed by a reverse in trend direction. “


“The Money Flow Indicator has reversed and is now advancing. In this downtrending market, this is taken as a weak bullish signal that could indicate an upward movement in the market averages. “


“Analysis of the rate of change of the exponentially smoothed average price suggests that in this strongly downtrending market an uptrend is starting to form. This is taken as a strong bullish signal that is usually followed by an upward movement in prices. “


“The new high/new low indicator has reversed to the upside. This is a reliable bullish signal that is often followed by an upward movement in prices. In this strong downtrending market a reverse in trend could start shortly. “

Ultimately any AI down signal is a note of caution in this market.

The V-Trade, Part 7: Technical Analysis—V-Wave Count

Counting waves in price charts doesn’t have to be complex. In this seventh part of a multipart series of articles, we consider a method that simplifies the art of counting waves so you can make more successful trades.
The AIQ program has a built-in zigzag indicator that is similar to the one discussed in Sylvain Vervoort September 2018 S&C article, “The V-Trade, Part 7: Technical Analysis—V-Wave Count.” This indicator is demonstrated on an AIQ chart below.

Sample Chart

AIQ. This demonstrates the built-in zigzag indicator on an AIQ chart of SPY.

—Richard Denning
info@TradersEdge­Systems.com
for AIQ Systems

BACK TO LIST

The V-Trade, Part 6: Technical Analysis —Divergence Indicators

AIQ EDS code based on Sylvain Vervoort’s August 2018 S&C article, “The V-Trade, Part 6: Technical Analysis—Divergence Indicators,”
This sixth part of a multipart series continues with a look at the stochastic RSI indicator (SRSI) to identify divergences… is available below

The code is shown here:

!The V-Trade Part 6 !Author: Sylvain Vervoort, TASC Feb 2019 
!Coded by: Richard Denning
!www.TradersEdgeSystems.com

!INPUTS:
stochLen is 5.
stochSum is 8.
rsiW is 21.

!RSI WILDER:
U is [close]-val([close],1).
D is val([close],1)-[close].
rsiLen is 2 * rsiW - 1.
AvgU is ExpAvg(iff(U>0,U,0),rsiLen).
AvgD is ExpAvg(iff(D>=0,D,0),rsiLen).
rsi is 100-(100/(1+(AvgU/AvgD))).
hiRSI is highresult(rsi,stochLen).
lowRSI is lowresult(rsi,stochLen).
RSIlow is rsi - lowRSI.
RSIhilow is hiRSI - lowRSI. ema1 is simpleavg(RSIlow,stochSum).
ema2 is simpleavg(RSIhilow,stochSum).
sveStochRSI is (ema1/(ema2 + 0.1))*100.

Figure 7 demonstrates the indicator on a chart of IBM.

Sample Chart

FIGURE 7: AIQ. The sveStochRSI is shown on a chart of IBM.

—Richard Denning
info@TradersEdgeSystems.com
for AIQ Systems

Trend-Following in One Minute a Month (A Quick Update)

This article is intended to be a quick update to this article.  The original idea is based on the theory propounded by Ken Fischer that suggests that one should not worry about a “top” in the stock market until after the market goes at least 3 months without making a new high.

Three things to note:

*Like all trend-following methods the one detailed in the linked article will experience an occasional whipsaw, i.e., a sell signal at one price followed some time later by a new buy signal with the market at a higher price.

*Like any good trend-following method the real purpose is to help you avoid some significant portion of any major longer-term bear market, i.e., 1973-74, 2000-2002, 2007-2009).

*The secondary purpose is to relieve an investor of that constant “Is this the top, wait, what about this this, this looks like the top, OK never mind, but this, this time it definitely has to be the top” syndrome.

The Rules

For a full explanation of the rules please read the linked article.  In general, though:

*A “Sell alert” occurs when the market makes a 6-month high, then goes 3 full calendar months without piercing that high

*The “trigger” price is the lowest low for the 3 months following the previous high

*A “Sell signal” occurs at the end of the month IF the “trigger” price is pierced to the downside during the current month

*The “trigger” is no longer valid if the S&P 500 makes a high above the high for the previous 6 months prior to an actual “Sell signal”

*If a “Sell signal” occurs then a new “Buy signal” occurs when the S&P 500 makes a high above the high for the previous 6 months

Sounds complicated, but its’s not.  Figure 1 displays the signals and alerts and trigger prices since 2005.

Green Arrows = Buy Signal

Red Arrows = Sell Signal

Red horizontal lines = Sell trigger price

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Figure 1 – One Minute a Month Trend-Following Alerts, Trigger prices and Signals (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

Note that actual sell signals occurred in 2008, 2011 and 2015.  The signal in 2008 was a life-saver, while the signals in 2011 and 2015 resulted in small whipsaws.  Sorry folks, that’s just the nature of the beast.

Interestingly, there have been two “Sell alerts” in the last year.  The first occurred at the end of April 2018, however, that alert was invalidated at the end of August 2018 when the S&P 500 pierced the previous 6-month high.  Another alert occurred at the end of December 2018.  The “Trigger price” is the December 2018 low of 2346.58.  That trigger is still active but could be invalidated if the month of May 2019 makes a high above whatever the high for April 2019 turns out to be.

The key point here is that despite the volatility and painful sell-offs in October and December of 2018, the “system” has remained on a buy signal.

Where to from here?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

How to Succeed in Trading (by Really, Really Trying)

Sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics.  So here goes.

Trading success comes from a “reality based” approach.  It is NOT about “all the money I am going to make!”  It IS about “formulating a plan” (see the questions below) AND “doing the right thing over and over and over again” (no matter how uncomfortable or unsexy those “things” may be).

Steps to Trading Success

Trading success comes from:

A) Having answers to the questions below

B) Remembering the answers through all of the inevitable ups and downs

What vehicles will you trade?

Will it be stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, options, or something else?  If you plan to trade futures or options understand that you will need a different account and/or approval from your brokerage firm.  Likewise, note that you will need to learn about the unique quirks of futures and options BEFORE you start trading.

How much money will you commit to your trading account?

Whatever that amount is be sure to put the entire amount into your account.  DO NOT make the mistake of saying “I only have x$’s but I am going to trade it as if it were y$’s.  One good drawdown and you will pull the plug.

How much money will you commit to a single trade/position?

We are NOT talking here about how much of a loss you are willing to endure.  We are simply talking about how much you will omit to the enter the trade.  If you put 10% of your capital into a given stock or ETF that doesn’t mean you are going to risk the entire amount.  This question has more to do with determining how diversified you will be.

How much money will you risk on a given trade/position?

Think in terms of percentages.  I will risk 1%, 2%, 5%, 10%, whatever.  There is no magic, or correct, number. But think of it this way – “if I experience 5 consecutive losing trades how much will my account be down?”  If you can’t handle that number then you need to reduce your risk per trade.

How many different positions will I hold at one time?  What is my maximum?

Buying and holding a portfolio stocks is different than actively trading. For active traders, holding a lot of positions at one time can be taxing – much more so than you might expect going in.  Don’t learn this lesson the hard way.

Do you understand the mechanics of entering trading orders?

The vast majority of trading orders are placed on-line.  Each brokerage firm has their own websites/platforms and each has their unique characteristics.  “Paper trading” an be a disaster if you come away thinking you “have the touch” when it comes to making money.  However, when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of order placement BEFORE you actually start trading, it an be invaluable.

(Think of trading as sky diving and paper trading as watching virtual sky diving on your laptop.  You get the idea, but the actual experience is significantly different).

What will cause me to enter a trade?

There are roughly a bazillion and one ways to trigger a “buy signal”.  Some are great, some are awful, but the majority are somewhere sort of in the middle.  Too many traders spend too much time looking for “that one great method”: of triggering signals.  The truth is that if you allocate capital wisely, manage your risk (more to follow) the actual method you use to signal trades is just one more piece of the puzzle – NOT the be all, end all.

How will I enter a trade?

This sounds like the same question as the one above, but it is different.  For an active trader, a buy signal may occur but he or she may wait for “the right time” to actually enter the market.  For example, if an “oversold” indicator triggers a “buy” signal, a trader may wait until there is some sort of price confirmation (i.e., a high above the previous trading day, a close above a given moving average, etc.) rather than risking “trying to catch a falling safe.”

What will cause me to exit a trade with a loss?

The obvious one is a loss that reaches the maximum amount you are willing to risk per trade as established earlier.  But there can be other factors.  In some cases, if the criteria that caused you to enter the trade in the first place no longer is valid, it can make sense to “pull the plug” and move on to another opportunity.  A simple example: you buy because price moves above a given moving average.  Price then drops back below that moving average without reaching your “maximum loss” threshold.

What will cause you to exit a trade with a profit?

This one is easy to take for granted.  Too many traders think, “Oh, once I get a decent profit I’ll just go ahead and take it.”  But a lot depends on the type of methodology that you are using.  If you are using a short-term trading system that looks for short-term “pops” in the market, then it might male sense to think in terms of setting “profit targets” and getting out while the getting is good.  On the other hand, if you are using a trend-following method you will likely need to maintain the discipline to “let your profits run” in order to generate the big winning trades that virtually all trend-following methods need in order to offset all of the smaller loses that virtually all trend-following methods experience.

The problem comes when a short-term trader decides to “let it ride” or when a trend follower starts “cutting his or her profit short” by taking small profits.

Different Types of Trading Require a Different Mindset

Putting money into a mutual fund or a portfolio of stocks is far different than trading futures or even options.  While you can be “hands on” with funds or stocks it is not necessarily a requirement (I still hold a mutual fund that I bought during the Reagan administration).  With futures or options, you MUST be – and must be prepared to be – hands on.

Also, big percentage swings in equity are more a way of life in futures and options.  I like options because they give you the ability to risk relatively small amounts of capital on any variety of opportunities – bullish, bearish, neutral, hedging and so forth.

I also like futures, but it does require a different level of emotional and financial commitment than most other forms of trading.  Many years ago, I wrote about the following “Litmus Test for Futures Traders”.  It goes like this:

To tell if you are prepared emotionally and financially to trade futures doe the following.

1. Got to your bank on a windy day.

2.  Withdraw a minimum of $10,000 in cash

3. Go outside and start throwing your money up into the air until it all blows away

4. Go home and get back to your routine like nothing ever happened.

If you can pass this test then you are fully prepared to trade futures.  If you cannot pass this test it simply means that you need to go into it with your eyes wide open regarding the potential risks (with the knowledge that something similar to what was just described can happen at any time).

Summary

In a perfect world a trader will have well thought out and detailed answers to all of the questions posed above BEFORE they risk their first dollar.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services,

Too Soon to Get Sweet on Sugar

One of my (admittedly, potentially foolish) beliefs is that commodities will outperform stocks again someday.  Possibly someday starting soon (roughly defined as anywhere from today to a year from today) and that the shift will be dramatic and last for a period of 3 to 8 years.

And no, I don’t think I could be any more vague.  But I haven’t really “taken the plunge” (i.e., shifted money from the stock market into commodities in any meaningful way) yet.  But I am keeping a close eye on things.  Rather than rattled off another 1,000 words to explain, I will simply refer you to Figure 1 that tracks the ratio of the S&P Commodity Index to the S&P 500 Index.

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Figure 1 – Commodities versus Stocks (Source: www.DailyReckoning.com)

History suggests that “the worm will (eventually) turn.”

Sugar

2

Let’s focus on one commodity for now.  Sadly, it’s one of my favorites (ranks right up there with coffee).  Sugar.  As you can see in Figures 2 and 3, sugar has a history of contracting in price over a period of time and then alternately – and please excuse my use of the following overly technical terms – “swooping” or “soaring”.Figure 2 – Sugar 1970-1998 (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

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Figure 3 – Sugar 1998-2019 (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

4

Sugar can be traded either in the futures market (each full one-point movement in price equates to $1,120 in contract value).  An alternative for “normal people” is ticker CANE which is the Teucrium Sugar ETF which trades like shares of stock.  See Figure 4.Figure 4 – ETF Ticker CANE (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

As you can see, sugar has been “contracting” in price of late.  Does this mean it is reading to “swoop” or “soar”?  Possibly.  But for those who want to play the bullish side, it is probably a bit too soon to dive in.

Seasonality in Sugar

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Figure 5 displays the annual seasonal trend in sugar.  It should be noted that you should NOT expect every year to follow this trend.  It is a display of previous historical tendencies and NOT a roadmap.Figure 5 – Sugar Annual Seasonal Trend (Courtesy Sentimentrader.com)

Still, the primary point is captured nicely in:

Jay’s Trading Maxim #92: One of the keys to long term success is committing capital where the probabilities are (or a least appear to be) in your favor.

February through April is NOT that time for anyone looking to play the long side of sugar.

Figure 6 displays the cumulative results achieved by holding long one sugar futures contract ONLY during the months of February through April every year starting in 1970.

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Figure 6 – Cumulative $+(-) holding long sugar futures Feb, Mar, Apr every year since 1970

Some things to note regarding sugar Feb through Apr:

*UP 18 times

*DOWN 31 times

*Average gain = +$2,201

*Average loss = (-$3,377)

*Largest gain = +$6,630 (1974)

*Largest loss = (-$18,424) (1975)

Summary

The point IS NOT to argue that sugar is doomed to plunge between now and the end of April, nor even to argue that it cannot rally strongly between now and then – because it can.

The point IS to merely point out that the odds do not presently favor the bulls, which means – well, see Trading Maxim #92 above.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

Utilities at the Crossroads

A lot of eyes are firmly fixed on Utilities at the moment.  And for good reason.  As you can see in Figure 1, the Dow Jones Utilities Average is presently facing a key resistance level.  If it breaks out above the likelihood of a good seasonal rally (more in a moment) increases significantly.

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Figure 1 – Utilities and resistance (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

One concern may be the fact that a 5-wave Elliott Wave advance appears to possibly have about run its course (according to the algorithmically drawn wave count from ProfitSource by HUBB which I use).  See Figure 2.

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Figure 2 – Utilities and Elliott Wave (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

For what it is worth, the March through July timeframe is “typically” favorable for utilities.  Figure 3 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in the Fidelity Select Sector Utilities fund (ticker FSUTX) ONLY during the months of March through July each year starting in 1982.

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Figure 3 – Growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSUTX Mar-Jul every year (1982-2018)

For the record:

*# times UP = 29 (78%)

*# times DOWN = 8 (22%)

*Average UP = +9.3%

*Average DOWN = (-5.8%)

*Largest UP = +21.1% (1989)

*Largest DOWN = (-25.8%) (2002)

*Solid performance but obviously by no means nowhere close to “a sure thing”.

*It should be noted that several of the “Down” years occurred when the S&P 500 was already in a pretty clearly established downtrend (2001, 2002 and 2008), i.e., below its 10-month moving average.  See Figure 4.

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Figure 4 – S&P Index w/10-month moving average (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

Summary

Utilities are flirting with new all-time highs and March through July is a “seasonally bullish” period for utilities.  Does that mean “happy days are here again, and we should all be piling into utilities?  Yeah, isn’t that always the thing about the markets?  There is rarely a 100% clear indication for anything.

As always, my “prediction” about what will happen next in utilities is irrelevant and I am NOT pounding the table urging you to pile in.  But I can tell you what I am watching closely at the moment:

*The S&P 500 Index is flirting right around its 10-month moving average (roughly 2,752 on the S&P 500 Index).  If it starts to break down from there then perhaps 2019 may not pan out so well for utilities.

*The Dow Jones Utility Average is facing a serious test of resistance and may run out of steam (according to Elliott Wave).

*But a breakout to the upside could well clear the decks for utilities to be a market leader for the next several months

Focus people, focus.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

It Really Was the Most Platinum Time of the Year; What Time is it Now?

In this article I highlighted the fact that platinum tends to be a consistent performer during the months of January and February combined.  2019 held serve as platinum futures registered their 23rd Jan-Feb gain in the last 24 years.  The Platinum ETF (ticker PPLT) registered a two month gain of +9.6%.  See Figure 1.

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Figure 1 – Ticker PPLT (Courtesy AIQ TradingExpert)

Figure 2 displays the updated hypothetical growth of equity achieved by holding long 1 platinum futures contract during January and February every year starting in 1979.

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Figure 2 – Platinum futures $ +(-) during Jan-Feb; 1979-2019

Since most investors will never trade platinum futures, Figure 3 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in ticker PPLT only during Jan and Feb since 2011.

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Figure 3 – Cumulative % growth of $1,000 invested in ticker PPLT ONLY during Jan. and Feb.; 2011-2019

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Figure 4 – Yearly % +(-) for PPLT during Jan-Feb

Going Forward

So platinum was great, but what have you done for me lately?  For what it is worth, historically two sectors that “should” be doing well in the March-April period are energies and grains (please remember that seasonal trends DO NOT always work every year).   As you can see in Figure 5, energies have been rallying since late December (though lots of consternation regarding crude oil remains a constant).

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Figure 5 – Ticker DBE (Energies) – so far so good; (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

Grains have been a bust so far (their “favorable seasonal period” typically begins in late January-early February – no dice this time around).  Where too from here?  One of two scenarios: either this is just going to be an off year for grains, or right now will be looked back upon as a buying opportunity.  Only time will tell.

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Figure 6 – Ticker DBA (Agricultural) – so far NOT so good; (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

And of course, don’t forget that the stock market tends to do pretty well March through May….

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.