Dave Moenning

The Next Leg Higher?

Good Monday morning and welcome back to what appears to be a celebration of tax reform on Wall Street. But before we get ahead of ourselves in terms of how far the bulls are going to run today, let’s start the week with a look at my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

Executive Summary: My Take…

The most recent burst to the upside, which began on November 21, has definitely been impressive. However, the key question at this point is if the move represents the onset of a fresh leg higher in the cyclical bull market that began in February 2016 – or – a “blow off” phase, which is where price peaks tend to occur. Personally, I’d feel better about the current move if a new “breadth thrust” signal were to occur. But since the move is still quite new, we will have to wait a week or so to see if the bulls can succeed on this score. It is also worth noting that the rate of ascent is quite steep here, which brings the sustainability of the move into question. In addition, the surge in prices is causing valuation indicators to move the wrong way – I.E. the “P” in the p/e ratio is moving up faster than the “e” (earnings). However, the absolute bottom line is this is a bull market until proven otherwise. And while we can argue that this bull is showing signs of aging, the bulls continue to deserve the benefit of the doubt.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Despite the intraday scare on Friday, the short-term Trend Model starts the week in positive territory. 
  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems remain positive this week. A break below 2557 would be problematic for these indicators. 
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model continues to side with the bulls. 
  • The long-term Trend Model sports a bright shade of green again this week. 
  • The Cycle Composite points higher again this week. 
  • The Trading Mode models continue to confirm the market is in a trending mode.
  • The only negative that can be identified from a trend perspective is that the rate of ascent has become extreme and is unlikely to continue.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend.


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Both of our Trend and Breadth Confirm Models remain positive to start the week. This is a sign that the market’s momentum is “in gear.” 
  • The Industry Health Model upticked last week but still has been unable to crack into the outright positive zone. 
  • The short-term Volume Relationship model has improved and is now positive. 
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship remains positive. However, it is worth noting that peak momentum from this model was reached earlier in the year. 
  • Not surprisingly, the Price Thrust Indicator remains positive to start the week. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator remains high neutral. The reason is this indicator uses volume on the NASDAQ, which has lagged during the most recent run higher. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator is in good shape.
  • In sum, market momentum is “pretty good” but not as strong as is usually seen at the beginning of bull market moves.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders might start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks are in an overbought condition. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks are overbought. However, since the market has been unable to become oversold from an intermediate-term perspective since spring, we view the current condition as “good overbought.” 
  • The Mean Reversion Model continues to struggle with the lack of volatility in the market and remains neutral. 
  • The short-term VIX indicator flashed a sell signal last week. However, the last 3 short-term sell signals have not been fruitful. 
  • Our longer-term VIX Indicator remains on a buy signal. 
  • From a short-term perspective, the market sentiment model is back in the red zone. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model also slipped back to negative last week. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings haven’t budged. 
  • While “early warning” signals have been all but useless for the majority of the year, there can be no denying that the table is clearly set for a pullback.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Absolute Monetary conditions haven’t changed and remain neutral. 
  • The Relative Monetary Model reading pulled back a bit last week but remains in the positive zone. 
  • Our Economic Model continues to suggest a strong economic growth environment. 
  • The Inflation Model reading remains in “low inflationary pressures” zone. This has historically been positive for stocks. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model remains quite negative and is moving in the wrong direction with the recent surge in prices. 
  • Our Relative Valuation Model remains neutral but the model reading is now the lowest seen since 2010.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review my favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, remains on a buy signal. However, the model reading is neutral to start the week. 
  • We have recently upgraded our “State of the tape” model to include an additional 5 indicator readings. The current reading of the new model is positive. 
  • The Risk/Reward model continues to be troubled by the state of market sentiment, market valuations, and monetary conditions. This explains the neutral reading. 
  • The newly expanded External Factors model includes a total of 10 indicators ranging from earnings, yields, sentiment, monetary, economic, and volatility. The current model reading improved to positive last week – but only by the slimmest of margins. And since the model reading is currently “on the line” we would prefer to see some confirmation before embracing the new reading.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.

In looking at the “bottom line” of this model, my take is that readings over 75% are “positive,” readings between 50% and 75% are “moderately positive,” and readings below 50% should be viewed as a warning that all is not right with the indicator world.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Publishing Note: I am traveling the rest of the week and have some very early commitments so I will publish reports as my schedule permits.

Thought For The Day:

Treat people as you would like to be treated, but don’t let anyone mistake kindness for weakness. -Art Rooney

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Tax Reform

      2. The State of the Earnings Season

      3. The State of the Economy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Ms. Market Sticking To The Script

Good Monday morning and welcome back. It is my sincere hope that everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and the long weekend. But with the end of 2017 in sight, it’s time to buckle down and get back to work. As usual, let’s start the week with a look at my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

Executive Summary: My Take…

Ms. Market stuck to the Thanksgiving script last week by advancing around the holiday. The fact that the S&P 500 finished at new all-time highs says that the bulls remain in charge of the game and should be given the benefit of any doubt. And with most of our short- and intermediate-term indicators in good shape, a buy-the-dips game plan should continue to work. However, since one of the primary jobs of a risk manager is to avoid falling victim to complacency, I will note that my favorite longer-term, big-picture models (shown on the Primary Cycle board) suggest that this is not exactly a low-risk environment. Yes, this is due primarily to the sentiment and monetary indicators, where a “yea, but” or two can definitely be applied. However, with the current bull run quickly approaching its 2-year anniversary, we should probably be on the lookout for something to come out of the woodwork and change the game – at least from a short-term perspective. In other words, a pullback/correction – or at the very least, a sloppy phase – is probably to be expected at some point.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Not surprisingly, the short-term Trend Model improved to positive this week.
  • The move to new all-time highs caused both the short- and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems to flash a fresh buy signals
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model remains solidly positive
  • The long-term Trend Model continues to sport a bright shade of green
  • The Cycle Composite points higher again this week.
  • The Trading Mode models confirm the market is trending higher

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend.


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Both the short- and intermediateterm Trend and Breadth Confirm Models are positive to start the week
  • The Industry Health Model continues to suggest that leadership is not broad-based. This suggests that the current bull phase is aging.
  • The short-term Volume Relationship has improved to neutral to start the week. However, the bulls would prefer to see this model in the outright positive zone here.
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship remains in good shape. Not great, but definitely good.
  • The Price Thrust Indicator reversed course last week and is now positive.
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator moved up to the high end of neutral this week and is on the verge of turning green.
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator upticked to positive last week.
  • All in, the momentum board is in pretty good shape for a late-stage bull phase.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders might start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks are once again modestly overbought. From here, the key will be whether or not the bulls can maintain an overbought condition without giving in to another pullback.
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks are overbought, but not at the extreme level seen over the past month.
  • The Mean Reversion Model remains stuck in neutral, which is indicative of the low volatility environment.
  • The short-term VIX indicator is technically still on a buy signal. However, a slight uptick in volatility will cause the short-term signal to flip to a sell.
  • Our longer-term VIX Indicator also remains on a buy signal.
  • From a short-term perspective, the market sentiment model remains in the neutral zone this week.
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model managed to peek its head up into the neutral zone this week where stocks have been able to post decent returns historically.
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings continue to sport a bright shade of red. This is an indication of complacency in the market.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Absolute Monetary composite model upticked a smidge last week and is now dead-neutral.
  • The Relative Monetary Model continues to sport a bullish reading for the second week in a row. This remains a positive for the bulls.
  • Our Economic Model continues to suggest a strong economic growth environment.
  • The reading of our Inflation Model continues to fall with the model now suggesting moderate disinflationary pressures.
  • The Absolute Valuation Model remains a problem from a big-picture standpoint. ‘Nuf said.
  • Our Relative Valuation Model remains in the neutral zone. However, the model reading does appear to be slowly working its way to the overvalued zone.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review my favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, remains something to watch here. The model reading is currently in the lower part of neutral and as such, is at risk of flashing a sell signal. But so far, the model says to stay with the bulls.
  • We have recently upgraded our “State of the tape” model to include an additional 5 indicator readings. The current reading of the new model is positive but has slipped a bit within the positive zone recently.
  • The Risk/Reward model upticked within the neutal zone last week. This model suggests that sentiment and monetary conditions are reasons for a bit of caution here.
  • The newly expanded External Factors model includes a total of 10 indicators ranging from earnings, yields, sentiment, monetary, economic, and volatility. The current model reading is high neutral. However, the fact that this model is neutral should be viewed as a modest warning flag.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.

In looking at the “bottom line” of this model, my take is that readings over 75% are “positive,” readings between 50% and 75% are “moderately positive,” and readings below 50% should be viewed as a warning that all is not right with the indicator world.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Thought For The Day:

Make peace with the past so it won’t screw up the present. -Regina Brett

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Tax Reform

      2. The State of the Earnings Season

      3. The State of the Economy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Headline Risk Leads To Sloppiness, But So Far, So Good

Good morning. We’ve got a new week on tap so let’s get started with a review of my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend Model remains neutral this week. 
  • The short-term Channel Breakout System produced a sell signal by a very slim margin last week. A close above 2597 would turn this indicator green next week. 
  • Despite the recent waffling, the intermediate-term Trend Model is in good shape. 
  • The intermediate-term Channel Breakout System was unfazed by the recent weakness and remains on a buy signal. A close below 2544 would be a cause for concern. 
  • The long-term Trend Model is also solidly positive. 
  • After a protracted period of projected weakness, the Cycle Composite begins to point higher here. 
  • The Trading Mode models continue to point to a trending market environment.
  • So far at least, the current sloppy action appears to be a “pause that refreshes.”

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend.


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • After spending some time in negative territory, the short-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model flipped back to positive late last week. However, this indicator is very sensitive and could easily change. 
  • Our intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model has done a good job calling the overall environment this year and remains green this week. 
  • The Industry Health Model continues to struggle in the neutral zone. This is an indication that market breadth is not as strong as it normally is during bull market rallies. 
  • The short-term Volume Relationship model slipped to negative last week as down volume has outpaced up volume over the last month. 
  • However, the intermediate-term Volume Relationship remains on a buy signal. 
  • The reading of the Price Thrust Indicator took a bit hit last week and is now solidly negative. This tells us there is little upside momentum present here. 
  • The good news on the momentum front is both the Volume and Breadth Thrust Indicators remain in the neutral zone. Thus, I conclude that while upside momentum has slipped, there isn’t much in the way of downside momentum at this time.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders might start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks are neither overbought nor oversold. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks remain in overbought territory. However, the extreme overbought condition has largely been worked off recently. 
  • The Mean Reversion Model continues to suggest that neither team has a strong edge. 
  • The short-term VIX indicator gave a buy signal last week. 
  • Our longer-term VIX Indicator confirmed with a buy signal of its own last week. 
  • From a short-term perspective, market sentiment is now dead neutral. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model slipped back into negative territory last week. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings point to a great deal of complacency in the market.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • There was no change in Absolute Monetary conditions last week – the indicator remains neutral. 
  • However, the Relative Monetary Model popped back up into the green zone last week. 
  • Our Economic Model continues to suggest a strong economic growth environment. 
  • The Inflation Model also perked up last week, suggesting a mild disinflationary environment is underway – this has historically been positive for stocks. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model has improved ever-so slightly over the past 3 quarters but remains at very high levels. This suggests that risk remains high. 
  • Our Relative Valuation Model remains neutral but contineus to move toward the overvalued zone.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review my favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, remains on a buy signal. However, the model reading has slipped to neutral in the past couple weeks. This remains something to watch. 
  • We have recently upgraded our “State of the tape” model to include an additional 5 indicator readings. The current reading of the new model is positive. However, the model is starting to wobble at bit from very high readings. 
  • The Risk/Reward model also remains on a buy signal, but continues to struggle with the state of the sentiment and valuation indicators. 
  • The newly expanded External Factors model includes a total of 10 indicators ranging from earnings, yields, sentiment, monetary, economic, and volatility. The current model reading is high neutral.

My Takeaway…

After ignoring the traditional seasonal weakness during the Sept – Oct period by marching to a series of new highs, it is not surprising to see some sloppy action in the stock market here. In my opinion, the action is largely tied to the headline risk associated with tax reform. The good news is that, so far at least, there hasn’t been any real damage done to the market from a technical standpoint or to the internal indicators. So, with plenty of time left on the tax reform deadline clock, we should probably expect more of the same in the coming weeks.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.

In looking at the “bottom line” of this model, my take is that readings over 75% are “positive,” readings between 50% and 75% are “moderately positive,” and readings below 50% should be viewed as a warning that all is not right with the indicator world.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Thought For The Day:

You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is. -Will Rogers

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Tax Reform

      2. The State of the Earnings Season

      3. The State of Fed Policy/Leadership

      4. The State of the Economy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Good Enough, But…

Good morning. We’ve got a new week on tap so let’s get started with a review of my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend Model remains positive, however the march higher is showing signs of fatigue. 
  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems remain on their 8/22 buy signals. 
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model is in good shape – albeit a bit extended. 
  • The long-term Trend Model remains positive. 
  • The Cycle Composite remains negative AND out of sync with the trend of the market at this time. Note that the composite calls for one more significant move to the downside over the next two weeks before a bottoming process. 
  • The Trading Mode models finally all agree that stocks are trending. But, the levels of the indicators aren’t exactly robust.
  • The bottom line as far as price is concerned is the trend is up, but is looking a little tired.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend…


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Models are positive, which suggests the march higher is “in gear.” 
  • The Industry Health Model remains moderately positive and near the highest levels of the year. However, my only complaint is that this model is not outright positive. 
  • The short-term Volume Relationship model is positive. However, the up-volume indicator looks to be rolling over a bit here – something to watch. 
  • Ditto for the intermediate-term Volume Relationship model. The model itself is positive and on a buy signal that dates back to the spring of 2016. However, the demand-volume indicator leaves something to be desired here. 
  • The Price Thrust Indicator remains positive but is starting to wane. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator slipped to neutral this week. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator also slipped back into the neutral zone.
  • While in good shape overall, the momentum board slipped a notch this week. This suggests that momentum may be waning.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders may start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks remain overbought. However, at this stage, we view the condition as a sign of strength as stock have been unable to become oversold since mid-August. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks are VERY overbought as my favorite intermediate-term indicator is now at the most overbought condition seen since the beginning of 2015. 
  • After a failed sell signal, the Mean Reversion Model is back to neutral. 
  • The near-term VIX indicator flashed a sell signal on 10/6, which remains in play. 
  • Our longer-term VIX Indicator remains positive as volatility has been unable to pick up any steam for some time since early summer. 
  • From a short-term perspective, the market sentiment model remains negative. 
  • There is no change to our intermediate-term Sentiment Model – still a negative input. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings are back to the weakest levels of the year – a warning sign. 
  • The bottom line is the table is set if the bears can find a reason to sell for more than a couple hours.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Absolute Monetary conditions remain neutral as the backup in rates took a break last week. 
  • The Relative Monetary Model continues in the neutral zone this week. 
  • After a quick trip to the sell side, our Economic Model (designed to call the stock market) is back on a buy signal this week. 
  • The Inflation Model continues to move modestly lower within the neutral zone and is currently at the lowest reading of the year. This model tells us that inflation pressures are minimal here. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model remains solidly in the red, but it has been trending lower for much of the year on the back of improving earnings. 
  • Our Relative Valuation Model suggest that stocks are approaching an undervalued condition relative to the level of yields.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review our favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, remains on a buy signal and is in good shape. 
  • The overall message from “the tape” is that things are “good enough” for the bulls to continue to run with the ball. 
  • The Risk/Reward model managed to peek its head into the positive zone – albeit by the skinniest of margins. 
  • The External Factors model remains positive and on a buy signal.

My Takeaway…

Running through the indicator boards, I conclude that things are clearly “good enough” for the bulls to continue to control the ball. For example, the trend is up. Momentum is pretty good. Seasonality will become a tailwind soon. Valuations, while still clearly negative, are actually improving a bit as the year goes on. And year-end window dressing should be assumed this year. Thus, I think we need to continue to give the bulls the benefit of any/all doubt and to buy the dips. However, it is also worth noting that both the near-term trend and the momentum indicators are starting to look a little tired. So, in sum, I would not be surprised to see some earnings-related difficulity in the near-term (as in a “sell the news” trade on good, but not great earnings) and would expect to see additional gains before this cyclical bull – a bull that will turn 2 years old in February – runs its course.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.

In looking at the “bottom line” of this model, my take is that readings over 75% are “positive,” readings between 50% and 75% are “moderately positive,” and readings below 50% should be viewed as a warning that all is not right with the indicator world.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Thought For The Day:

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least. – Unknown

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of the Earnings Season

      2. The State of Tax Reform

      3. The State of the Economy

      4. The State of Fed Policy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Indicator Review: Looking For Confirmation

Good morning. Sadly, the first week of October starts with the news of the deadliest gunman attack in U.S. history. So, let me first say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, the injured, and all those traumatized by the sickening attack that occurred in Las Vegas last night.

My second thought this morning may not win me many friends as I normally try to avoid any political commentary in my morning market missives. However, in light of this event, I simply have to say it; why on earth these types of weapons available for purchase by the public?

To be sure, this type of event makes it tough to focus on mundane things like investing. However, the stock market will open in less than an hour, so let’s go ahead and review my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend Model is back to positive with the S&P closing a fresh all-time highs. 
  • The short-term Channel Breakout System remains on a buy signal. This system’s stop point stands at 2488 to start the week. 
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model is also positive. 
  • The intermediate-term Channel Breakout System did a great job issuing a buy signal on 8/22. The system would require a drop below 2443 to leave the positive zone. 
  • The long-term Trend Model remains solidly green. 
  • The Cycle Composite remains negative and is clearly out of sync from a short- and intermediate-term perspective at this time. 
  • The Trading Mode models are not yet convinced that the trend is “in gear” but one of the models is positive and the other two are moving in the right direction.
  • In sum, as the saying goes, the most positive thing a market can do is make new highs. Now if the Dow and NASDAQ 100 would just confirm.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend…


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Models are positive. 
  •  
  • The Industry Health Model continues to waffle in the moderately positive zone. As I’ve said many times, I would prefer to see this model in an outright positive mode. 
  • The short-term Volume Relationship remains negative and is not improving here. While the indicator could certainly turn in the near-term, this is a nagging concern 
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship has upticked and is improving. 
  • The Price Thrust Indicator remains positive. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator continues with a neutral reading. But we should note that the historical return in neutral is fairly strong. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator remains positive this week.
  • From a momentum perspective, the bottom line is things are pretty good. However, I would like to see the volume relationship model confirm the overall message in the near-term.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders may start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks are once again overbought. However, it has been a more than a month since the S&P was oversold and as such, the bulls will argue that this is becoming a “good overbought” condition. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks are have reached an overbought condition as well. However, we prefer for these indicators to reverse from an extreme position before turning negative. 
  • The Mean Reversion Model 
  • The shorter-term VIX Indicator has issued a sell signal while the intermediate-term model’s last signal was a buy. 
  • From a short-term perspective, market sentiment is become more optimistic but has not yet reached a level that is considered negative. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model remains negative and the indicator hasn’t budged. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings are worsening and approaching the lowest levels of the year. 
  • Yes, stocks are now overbought from short-, intermediate-, and long-term time frames. But it is important to remember, that overbought conditions can remain in effect for long periods of time when the bulls are running.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Absolute Monetary conditions continue to weaken with the recent spike in rates. 
  • But… the Relative Monetary Model remains upbeat. The divergence between the two models has to do with the overall level of rates. 
  • Our Economic Model (designed to call the stock market) issued a sell signal last week. However, I note that the model designed to “call” the economy remains positive. 
  • The Inflation Models continue to show weakening inflation pressures. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model remains negative. However, we should recognize that the trend of the model reading is slightly down. As such, one can argue that valuations are improving – albeit from extreme levels. 
  • On the other hand, our Relative Valuation Model continues to improve and is very close to turning positive.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review our favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, remains positive after giving a whipsaw signal earlier in the year. 
  • The overall message from “the tape” remains constructive, but it could be better with stocks at all-time highs. 
  • The Risk/Reward model continues to suggest this is not a low-risk environment 
  • The External Factors model sums things up nicely here from a big-picture perspective. While there are concerns, this composite of external indicators remains green.

My Takeaway…

I think the takeaway from this week’s indicator review is that despite the confluence of “issues” the bears continue to talk about, the market remains at all-time highs. Some will argue that this represents a classic case of stocks climbing a wall of worry. And with the majority of our indicators in decent shape, I can concur with this analysis. However, there are indeed some chinks in the indicator armor here. Of course, these problem areas could also be resolved with some time. So, with very positive seasonality just around the corner, it is probably a good idea to give the bulls the benefit of the doubt here and to continue to buy any/all dips.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.

In looking at the “bottom line” of this model, my take is that readings over 75% are “positive,” readings between 50% and 75% are “moderately positive,” and readings below 50% should be viewed as a warning that all is not right with the indicator world.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Thought For The Day:

It requires less character to discover the faults of others, than to tolerate them. -J. Petit Senn

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Geopolitics

      2. The State of the Economic/Earnings Growth (Fast enough to justify valuations?)

      3. The State of the Trump Administration

      4. The State of Fed Policy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Bulls Ignore Seasonality and March On

Good Monday morning and welcome back. It’s a new week, so let’s start things off with an objective review of my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

NEW SAMPLE EXPOSURE MODEL:
Over time, we have received numerous requests for suggestions on how readers might utilize the indicators/models shown in this report. Thus, we have developed an example of a “model of models” approach to determine longer-term exposure to market risk. Please note that this is merely an example of how these indicators can be used and is neither a recommendation or the positioning of any specific investing strategy. The idea is to illustrate how a disciplined approach may help one stay in tune with the “message” of the models/indicators.

In looking at the “bottom line” of this model, my take is that readings over 75% are “positive,” readings between 50% and 75% are “moderately positive,” and readings below 50% should be viewed as a warning that all is not right with the indicator world.

We’ve included a brief summary of the indicators/models used at the end of the report. It is our sincere hope that you find the upgrades to our weekly summary of interest.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend Model weakened a bit last week but remains moderately positive 
  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems remain on buy signals. However, a break below 2490 next week would trigger a sell on the short-term trading system. 
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model remains solidly green and the trend that began in November 2016 remains intact. A break below 2417 on a weekly closing basis would turn the model negative. 
  •  
  • The long-term Trend Model remains on a buy signal that was given in March 2016. 
  • The Cycle Composite continues to point lower this week and remains largely negative through the middle of October. However, it is worth noting that the market is diverging from the cycle projection at this time. 
  • The Trading Mode models continue to point to a mean reverting environment. To me, this indicator alone continues to be a reason to take a bit less risk.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend…


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model is positive. 
  • Our intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model is also positive. This tells us the bulls still have the upper hand. 
  • The Industry Health Model continues to waffle in the moderately positive zone. 
  • The short-term Volume Relationship remains negative. This indicator being negative gives me pause. 
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship has been improving over the last month. However, the longer-term trend of Demand Volume remains a concern. 
  • The Price Thrust Indicator remains green. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator is stuck in neutral. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator is also positive. As such, this trio of indicators has to be viewed as moderately positive overall.
  • Overall, the momentum board looks to be in pretty good shape and for me, this means the bulls deserve the benefit of the doubt.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders may start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks are overbought. While not a sell signal on its own, this means that the risk of a correction is elevated. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks are technically neutral, but very close to overbought territory. 
  • The Mean Reversion Model continues to suggest that the market is not in a trending mode. 
  • The VIX Indicators are conflicted here. 
  • From a short-term perspective, market sentiment is flip-flopping in the neutral zone. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model remains solidly negative. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings are also quite negative. 
  • The early warning board is clearly waving a yellow flag. This does NOT mean that stocks will decline. It merely means that the “table is set” for the bears if they can find a reason to do some selling.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Absolute Monetary conditions are currently sliding back in the neutral zone. 
  • The Relative Monetary Model remains positive, but the model has been pulling back a bit. 
  • Our Economic Model (designed to call the stock market) has slipped back into the negative zone this week. Recall that this model was out of sync with the market for much of the recent rally. However, this remains something to watch going forward. 
  • The Inflation Model continues to move lower within the neutral zone. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model is the same – very negative. 
  • Our Relative Valuation Model continues to improve and is actually very close to flipping to positive.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review our favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, is back to positive this week – but only by a slim margin. 
  • The Tape models continue to favor the bulls. 
  • The Risk/Reward model turned positive briefly last week but finished back in the neutral zone. 
  • The most positive development in the last month has been the External Factors model turning green. And the good news is the model continues to improve.

My Takeaway…

The bulls argue that the trend is their friend and since the S&P 500 made fresh all-time highs last week, the market is clearly in a positive mode. On the other sideline, the bears contend that momentum is anything but robust, the trend is long in the tooth, seasonality is ugly for another month or so, valuations are extreme, the last meaningful correction was eons ago, and earnings growth will likely slow. My take is that the cyclical bull trend that began in February 2016 is mature and that risks are elevated. However, the bulls remain in control and if they can continue to thumb their noses at the negative seasonality, we should probably expect the year to finish on a positive note.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Thought For The Day:

Beware the barrenness of a busy life – Socrates

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Geopolitics

      2. The State of the Economic/Earnings Growth (Fast enough to justify valuations?)

      3. The State of the Trump Administration

      4. The State of Fed Policy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

The Most Bullish Thing A Market Can Do Is…

Good Monday morning and welcome back. It’s a new week, so let’s start things off with an objective review of my key market models/indicators and see where we stand. To review, the primary goal of this exercise is to try and remove any subjective notions about what “should” be happening in the market in an attempt to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

NEW THIS WEEK:

Over time, we have received numerous requests for suggestions on how readers might utilize the indicators/models shown in this report, this week we introduce a “model of models” approach to determining longer-term exposure to market risk. Please note that this is merely an example of how these indicators can be used and is not a recommendation or the positioning of any specific investing strategy. The idea is to illustrate how a disciplined approach may help one stay in tune with the “message” of the models/indicators.

In addition, we’ve included a brief summary of the indicators/models used in the report.

It is our sincere hope that you find the upgrades to our weekly summary of interest.

The State of the Trend

We start our review each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Last week’s rally and fresh all-time highs has turned the short-term Trend Model positive. 
  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Channel Breakout System remain on their 8/22 Buy Signals. 
  • The new all-time closing high keeps the intermediate-term Trend Model positive. 
  • The long-term Trend Model continues positive as well… 
  • The market action continues to run counter to the Cycle Composite projection, which remains negative next week. 
  • The Trading Mode models remain unimpressed by the new highs so far and call this a mean-reverting environment.
  • The bottom line is the most bullish thing a marke can do is make new highs, so…

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend…


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model flipped back to positive last week. 
  • Our intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model is also positive – a good thing. 
  • The Industry Health Model moved up to the moderately positive zone. And with the global version positive, the bulls hold the edge here. 
  • The negative reading of the short-term Volume Relationship remains a warning sign. But, in and of itself, is not a reason to be negative. This is simply a yellow flag. 
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship is improving but is not yet outright positive. 
  • The Price Thrust Indicator moved back to positive last week – another plus for the bulls. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator remains neutral. However, note that stock market returns have been above trend when in this mode. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator is also positive.
  • The bottom line is momentum, while not wildly robust here, is positive and moving in the right direction.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders may start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks are now very overbought. This alone is not a reason to sell, but it is a warning flag. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks are not yet overbought, but are getting close. 
  • After a timely buy signal, the Mean Reversion Model has moved back to neutral and is actually close to a short-term sell/short signal. 
  • The VIX Indicator also gave a timely buy signal recently is now very close to a sell signal. 
  • After a timely buy signal, the short-term market sentiment has moved to neutral. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model slipped back into the negative zone. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings are also negative. 
  • The key takeaway here is the “mean reversion/trading winds” are no longer at the bulls’ back.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Absolute Monetary conditions continue to dip and our 14-indicator model is now falling in the neutral zone. 
  • The Relative Monetary Model remains in good shape. 
  • Our Economic Model (designed to call the stock market) continues to falter and is now at the low end of neutral – something to watch. 
  • The Inflation Model remains solidly neutral. Our inflation models continue to suggest the Fed’s inflation target is unlikely to be sustained. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model is still the same – very negative. 
  • With rates near 2017 lows, our Relative Valuation Model continues to improve and is very close to turning positive.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review our favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was our best performing timing model during the last cycle, 
  • The Tape is in decent shape – just not strong. 
  • The Risk/Reward model is back to neutral. 
  • The External Factors model continues to improve (likely thanks to the move in rates), which is a good thing from a longer-term perspective.

My Takeaway…

The readings from the primary cycle board really tell the story here. From a big-picture standpoint, things are in “pretty good” shape, which tells us to continue to give the bulls the benefit of any doubt. However, the facts that (a) the early warning board is waving its flag, (b) momentum is anything but robust, and (c) valuations remain extreme, tells us that risk factors are NOT low at this stage of the game. My take on this is that if the bears were to find a raison d’etre, the ensuing decline could be sharper/more severe than normal. Yet at the same time, stocks have been able to handle just about anything thrown at them this year and so far at least there has been no reason for traders to hit the sell button. So, until/unless there is a reason to worry, the dips are likely to be bought and volatility is likely to remain low.

Sample Risk Exposure System

Below is an EXAMPLE of how some of above indicators might be used in order to determine exposure to market risk. The approach used here is a “Model of Models” comprised of 10 independent Models. Each model included gives separate buy and sell signals, which affects a percentage of the model’s overall exposure to the market.

Trend models control a total 40% of our exposure. The 3 Momentum Models and 3 Environment Models each control 10% of the portfolio’s exposure to market risk. The model’s “Exposure to Market Risk” reading (at the bottom of the Model) acts as an EXAMPLE of a longer-term guide to exposure to market risk.


View Sample Exposure Model Online

The model above is for illustrative and informational purposes only and does not in any way represent any investment recommendation. The model is merely a sample of how indicators can be grouped to create a guide to market exposure based on the inputs from multiple indicators/models.

Thought For The Day:

Beware the barrenness of a busy life – Socrates

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Geopolitics

      2. The State of the Economic/Earnings Growth (Fast enough to justify valuations?)

      3. The State of the Trump Administration

      4. The State of Fed Policy

Indicators Explained

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, “The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen.”

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR’s All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Industry Health Model Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, Big Mo Tape takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as “positive,” the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a “neutral” reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated “negative,” stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is “trending” or “mean reverting.” The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between “supply” and “demand” volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line’s 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a “thrust” occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market’s best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, “Don’t fight the Fed” is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The “relative” monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a “positive” reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model’s reading falls into the “negative” zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that “the tape tells all.” However, one of the best “big picture” indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market’s focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Indicators Suggest Some Caution Still Warranted

Please accept my apologies for the tardiness of this week’s report. We had traveled to Chicagoland for family gatherings over the weekend and I awoke Monday morning to no internet where we were staying. And while the trek home was an adventure thanks to Mother Nature, all is right with my world from a technology standpoint this morning.

While our thoughts and prayers remain with the folks in Houston this morning, geopolitical tensions have returned to the center stage. With North Korea’s boy-leader firing a missile over Japan last night, the concern is that retaliatory measures could be taken and the situation could easily escalate. Where this goes is anybody’s guess, but as far as the market is concerned, it appears that traders are taking a defensive stance in the early going today.

But before we get carried away with speculation, let’s turn our attention to our objective review the key market models and indicators and see where things stand. To review, the primary goal of this weekly exercise is to remove any subjective notions one might have in an effort to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

The State of the Trend

We start each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend Model is currently neutral, due at least in part to the recent sideways action. 
  • The short-term Channel Breakout System is currently positive but a break below 2417 would flip it back to negative. 
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model has improved but remains negative. 
  • The intermediate-term Channel Breakout System will require a move to new highs in order for the signal to go back to positive. 
  • The long-term Trend Model remains in pretty good shape. 
  • The Cycle Composite continues to point lower with only intermittent rallies through the middle of October. 
  • The Trading Mode models agree that stocks are back in a mean-reverting environment.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend…


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model has improved to neutral but it won’t take much for this model to return to negative. 
  • Our intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model remains negative. 
  • The Industry Health Model is still stuck in the neutral zone. I continue to see this as a problem. 
  • Despite the bounce off the recent lows, the short-term Volume Relationship has continued to weaken as the up volume line is now at the lows of the year. 
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship model is moving in the wrong direction. 
  • The Price Thrust Indicator, which requires some “oomph” in order to move, didn’t budge during the recent rebound. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator is negative. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator has upticked to neutral.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders may start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, the recent oversold condition has been worked off. Thus, this mean-reversion tailwind is now still. 
  • From an intermediate-term view, stocks remain in never-never land. 
  • The Mean Reversion Model is still on a buy signal. However, the model is weakening quickly and the most recent signal looks to have been false. 
  • The VIX Indicator is technically on a buy signal at the moment. However, the return of tensions in N. Korea could change this quickly. 
  • From a short-term perspective, market sentiment is now negative, which, is a positive. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model has returned to neutral. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings continue to be a negative input.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • Absolute Monetary conditions slipped back to neutral last week. 
  • The Relative Monetary Model continues to improve and is currently at the highest level seen since last summer. 
  • Our Economic Model (designed to call the stock market) remains on a buy signal but weakened a fair amount last week. 
  • The Inflation Model continues to suggest that inflationary pressures are receding. 
  • Our Relative Valuation Model continues to improve, but remains in neutral at this time. 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model remains resolutely negative.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review our favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model took a dive last week and is now only slightly above negative. This is something to watch closely. 
  • The Tape continues to be less than robust, which in my book, suggests risks are elevated. 
  • The Risk/Reward model peeked its head into positive territory and remains there this week. 
  • The External Factors model also improved enough recently to turn the box green. From a long-term perspective, this suggests that the secular bull is intact and dips should be bought.

The Takeaway…

My key takeaway this week is that from a big-picture standpoint, not much has really changed. Although some of my models have improved, the lack of green on the momentum board is very telling. And given the combination of negative seasonality and renewed geopolitical issues, I would not be surprised to see stocks test their recent lows in the near-term. The question of the day then is, do the bears have enough working for them to get something meaningful going?

Thought For The Day:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you handle it. -Unknown

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Geopolitics

      2. The State of the Economic/Earnings Growth (Fast enough to justify valuations?)

      3. The State of the Trump Administration

      4. The State of Fed Policy

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Looking To The Weight Of The Evidence

Stocks pulled back a bit yesterday in response to Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the government if he didn’t get his border wall. On this topic, it is important to note that (a) the government is slated to run out of money on October 1 and (b) the House has already approved $1.6 billion for the wall – but the issue appears to be problematic in the Senate.

From a technical perspective, the S&P 500 is basically searching for direction. From a short-term view, stocks are in a downtrend. From an intermediate- and longer-term perspective, the trend of the stock market is in pretty good shape. The key here is that a break below Monday’s low would threaten the health of the intermediate-term trend and embolden the bears.

And with speeches from both Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi on tap in Jackson Hole tomorrow, it is a decent bet that traders may not want to make any big moves today. Unless, of course, Yellen’s speech gets leaked and contains market-moving info, that is.

So, since stocks remain in a seasonally weak period, valuations are in rarified air, and we appear to have some time on our hands this morning, I thought I’d continue our discussion of the various ways investors can manage the risk of severe market declines in their portfolios.

Going Back To The Beginning

When I first entered the business in mid-1980, something called “market timing” was gaining popularity. The idea was to invest 100% of your account either in the money market or the stock market, depending of the reading of various indicators – usually moving averages. Such a concept would have helped the proponents of such strategies to avoid the difficult markets of the 1970’s, which saw the DJIA go mostly sideways for years.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but a couple things made this strategy successful. First, very few people were doing it as the mutual fund industry was in its infancy and calculating a moving average wasn’t easy, requiring a legal pad, a pencil, and a calculator. Remember, charts weren’t available on your phone back then. Heck, cell phones didn’t exist back then.

In addition, an investor could earn a VERY strong rate of return when in the “defensive” money market position. Thus, “market timing” was pretty easy when you were earning 10% annualized sitting in cash.

But as time went on, such strategies lost favor. In my opinion, this was largely due to the secular bull market that began in 1982. The mutual fund industry launched a massive campaign encouraging investors to put their money into a fund family and leave it there – forever. “Time, not timing” was the battle cry. “Be a long-term investor” was also a big theme promoted at the time. Since there wasn’t much in way of risk for nearly a decade after the Crash of ’87, the concept of risk management became laughable and “market timing” was a dirty word by the middle of the 1990’s.

So, with the public being told that no one could “time the market” (never mind the boatload of research that proved otherwise) and that such efforts were a waste of time (stocks just went up every year, so why bother?), the “buy and hold” approach became all the rage. (P.S. If this sounds similar to today’s emphasis on passive investing, give yourself a gold star!)

Thus, risk managers were scoffed at during the mid-1990’s. Risk? What risk?

However, the ensuing bear markets triggered by the bursting of the technology bubble and then the credit crisis have changed people’s point of view on the subject – in a big way. Thus, risk management is now an important part of many investors’ portfolios.

The trick is the figure out a way to reduce one’s exposure to market risk when the bears are in town and to “make hay while the sun shines” the rest of the time. Simple enough, right?

So far in this series, we’ve talked about BlackRock’s approach, which entails the use of low volatility vehicles, as well as the idea of diversifying your portfolio by employing multiple risk management strategies. Today, let’s keep moving and talk about one of my favorite strategies to risk management.

The Exposure Method

The goal of what I call the “exposure method” is to keep one’s exposure to market risk in sync with the “state of the market.” When the market is healthy, you want to be onboard the bull train and enjoy the ride. Then as conditions weaken over time, as they often do during long bull market runs, you reduce your exposure to risk accordingly.

The challenge, of course, is finding a way to accomplish this goal. The bottom line is there are many approaches to this strategy. My take on the subject is to employ a diversified approach by using multiple indicators and/or models, with each controlling a set portion of the exposure.

For example, if I have 10 market indicators, I can assign each indicator a 10% weighting. When all 10 are positive, I’m 100% long. But as indicators flip to red, the exposure gets reduced. For example, if 3 indicators are negative, I’d be 70% long and 30% in cash, etc.

Of course, the real key to this method is the indicator selection and weighting. To be sure, there are a myriad of ways to do this – and trust me, I’ve played with a great many over the years!

What I’ve found is that a combination of trend, momentum, sentiment, and “external” factors can be a pretty good guide to the health of the market. In fact, I publish the readings of these indicators every Monday in my weekly indicator review. Here’s a link to this week’s edition.

To illustrate the concept further, below is an example of an exposure model I developed and publish weekly for the NAAIM (National Association of Active Investment Managers) organization each week.

The idea is pretty straightforward. I allocate 60% of the model to trend and momentum indicators/models and 40% to sentiment and external factors. My goal is to blend both technical and fundamental indicators because, if I’ve learned one thing since 1980, it is that all strategies/indicators/models WILL go into a funk at times and/or stop working. Thus, I’ve learned that it is critical to avoid using a singular indicator to drive your exposure. As the saying goes, all indicators work great, right up until they don’t!

Therefore, I prefer to employ a “model of models” approach to build what I hope will provide me with a “weight of the evidence” for the overall health of the stock market.


View Model Online

To review, the game plan is to be invested more heavily in stocks when the “weight of the evidence” is positive and less so when the model reading suggests some caution.

Is the system perfect? Heck no. No matter how hard you try, Ms. Market will always find a way to trip you up at times. But to me, this approach makes sense as my goal is to get it “mostly right, most of the time.”

Currently, the market’s internal momentum had clearly stalled and the table was “set” for a pullback. The model sensed that all was not right in the indicator world and recommended that chips be taken off the table. From my seat, this is what “risk management” is all about.

A friend of mine uses this model with live money. He takes the model reading as his long equity exposure and puts the remainder in bonds on a weekly basis. As such, this week he’d have 40% in stocks and 60% in bonds. And for the record, the model’s exposure to equities was 75% at the end of July, 65% the week of August 6, and first went below 50% on August 13.

And I am pleased to report that since my NAAIM friend went live with this approach, it has outperformed a traditional 60/40 portfolio by a pretty sizable amount.

Thought For The Day:

When men speak of the future, the Gods laugh. -Chinese Proverbs

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of the Trump Administration/Policies

      2. The State of the Economic/Earnings Growth (Fast enough to justify valuations?)

      3. The State of Geopolitics

      4. The State of Fed Policy

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.

Dave Moenning

Indicator Review: The Table Appears To Be Set For…

Good Monday morning and welcome back to the land of blinking screens. North Korea’s obsession with missiles, the issues of Tax Reform and the Debt Ceiling, and what I call “Fed Expectations” are in focus this week. On the latter, note that, according to Bloomberg, the futures-implied odds of another rate hike in 2017 currently stand at just 40% as many folks contend that the FOMC is more interested in beginning a “balance sheet normalization” plan than hiking rates again soon. However, with both PIMCO and BlackRock publicly talking about inflation hitting the Fed’s 2% target in the near-term after Friday’s better-than expected jobs report, we should probably be on the lookout for the “reflation trade” to make a comeback. Thus, traders will be paying particular attention to every word uttered as Fed officials return to the speaking circuit this week.

But since it’s the start of a new week, let’s focus on our objective review the key market models and indicators and see where things stand. To review, the primary goal of this weekly exercise is to remove any subjective notions one might have in an effort to stay in line with what “is” happening in the markets. So, let’s get started.

The State of the Trend

We start each week with a look at the “state of the trend.” These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.


View Trend Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • With the SPX moving sideways for the past three weeks, it isn’t surprisng to see some weakness creep into the short-term Trend Model 
  • Both the short- and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems remain on buy signal. The short-term system would flash a sell signal below 2459 and the intermediate-term system below 2405 
  • The intermediate-term Trend Model remains positive. 
  • The long-term Trend Model is also solidly positive. 
  • The Cycle Composite has turned negative and will stay there for some time. 
  • The Trading Mode models continue to suggest the market is in a trending environment.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any “oomph” behind the current trend…


View Momentum Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The short-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model slipped to negative last week – albeit by a slim margin. 
  • Our intermediate-term Trend and Breadth Confirm Model remains positive. 
  • After poking its head up into the positive zone for a brief period, the Industry Health Model is back to neutral this week. 
  • The short-term Volume Relationship is technically positive, but the up-volume line continues to trend down. 
  • The intermediate-term Volume Relationship model remains positive. However, the demand volume line is flirting with the low end of a trading range and very close to the lowest point of the year. Any further weakness could cause the line to enter a downtrend. 
  • The Price Thrust Indicator fell back to neutral as the recent momentum was not sustained. 
  • The Volume Thrust Indicator is no negative. 
  • The Breadth Thrust Indicator is also negative.
  • In sum, short-term momentum has faltered.

The State of the “Trade”

We also focus each week on the “early warning” board, which is designed to indicate when traders may start to “go the other way” — for a trade.


View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • From a near-term perspective, stocks remain overbought. 
  • Stocks remain overbought also from an intermediate-term view. 
  • The Mean Reversion Model is stuck in neutral. 
  • The VIX Indicators remain on sell signals. 
  • From a short-term perspective, market sentiment is now at the low end of neutral. 
  • The intermediate-term Sentiment Model remains very negative. 
  • Longer-term Sentiment readings haven’t budged and the model suggests extreme complacency in the market.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let’s move on to the market’s “external factors” – the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.


View External Factors Indicator Board Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Absolute Monetary model remains at the low end of the positive range. 
  • On a relative basis, our Monetary Model suggests conditions have improved to moderately positive 
  • Our Economic Model (designed to call the stock market) hasn’t moved and is currently moderately positive. 
  • The Inflation Model continues to fall in the neutral zone. This suggests inflation pressures are trending down. 
  • Our Relative Valuation Model is neutral but edging back toward undervalued (note the correlation of this to the improvement in the monetary models) 
  • The Absolute Valuation Model remains VERY negative.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

Finally, let’s review our favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to tell us which team is in control of the prevailing major trend.


View My Favorite Market Models Online

Executive Summary:

  • The Leading Indicators model, which was briefly neutral a while back, is now solidly positive. 
  • The Tape continues to struggle and is back to neutral. The fact that the indices are near all-time highs and this model is neutral really says it all – leadership is narrow. 
  • After briefly turning positive, the Risk/Reward model slipped back to neutral last week. 
  • The External Factors model remains ever-so slightly positive.

The Takeaway…

Let’s see… the trend and momentum models have weakened, the market remains overbought, sentiment is overly positive, and the historical cycles suggest a meaningful decline could begin any day now. However, the bigger-picture/external factors models remain constructive and suggest above-average gains. As such, one could argue that stocks are “set up” for a corrective phase. Thus, if the bears can find a negative “trigger” they could be in business for a while. But given the macro backdrop, buying the dips still makes sense here.

Publishing Note: My wife and I are closing on and moving into our new home this week. As such, I will publish reports only if time and energy level permits.

Thought For The Day:

The four most dangerous words in investing are: This time it’s different. -Sir John Templeton

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of the U.S. Economic Growth (Fast enough to justify valuations?)

      2. The State of Earnings Growth

      3. The State of Trump Administration Policies

      4. The State of the Fed

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Chief Investment Officer
Sowell Management Services

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning and/or Sowell Management Services held long positions in the following securities mentioned: none. Note that positions may change at any time.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning’s opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning is an investment adviser representative of Sowell Management Services, a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services, review the firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available by contacting Sowell. Sowell is not registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Sowell may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

Advisory services are offered through Sowell Management Services.