Christmas is over (and with it the Retail Season). The POTUS has pontificated and the rest of the world has said, roughly, “What? Didn’t he notice the election results?” Economic news has not been a disaster, but hasn’t been very good either. The dollar isn’t tanking, but isn’t particularly impressive either, and with that the “Gold & Silver Paranoia Trade” has just rolled over and died. My favorite Gold indicator has worked Just Fine (when there a load of adds on TV telling you it’s time to buy gold, it’s time to sell gold ;-)
Over the holidays and the January Birthday Rush I tend to do “other stuff”. Now it’s time to get back to work and see what will put goodies back in the money bucket… But first, a bit of review of the last posting:
Markets have entered the Holiday Doldrums and about the most exciting thing has been the plunge of the Long Bond (where some time back I’d said I was going into TBT – the fund that will short-sell bonds for you, so it makes money as they drop. That’s been a nice trade, and likely will be for months and maybe years to come. The Fed doesn’t raise rates from “near zero” to 12% overnight. It takes years for the inflation to build up.)
The bond has stabilized a bit, for a while. Once The Fed starts raising rates, prepare to jump into the short side (TBT) in size. For now, the economy is crappy enough that The Fed looks stuck in low… We do have some commodity inflation, but as wages are crap, The Fed is saying net it isn’t a worry. Yet.
We’ve also had a bit of the usual Christmas Retail Ralley, but it’s been marred by things like Best Buy having bad things to say about TV sales. Let’s see: We’re out of work and the government is spending all our money. There’s a tax hike that we’ve only JUST avoided, but maybe not for long, possibly. We’ve got a major hike in insurance costs coming (thanks to “ObamaCare”) IFF you can hang on to your insurance. And the Chinese are eating our lunch economically. Sounds like a great time to go spend money on a Chinese TV…
Retail numbers have started to come in and they are not all that good. The Retail run is pretty much over, at least for this year.
I don’t yet have a new ‘investment thesis’ for the year, but we’ll see if one develops as we “run the numbers” and “ride the charts”.
Pointer To Other Topics
If you are expecting global warming stuff, it’s under the “AGW” categories in the right hand margin. Things specific to the NCDC data and GIStemp are under categories with those in their names.
This posting is about the other thing I do, looking at investment markets. Prior postings in this series are available here: http://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/wall-street-week/
Posts with some relevance to trades, but not in the format of a full WSW analysis, are available under this category:
The Nature of the Charts Here
The charts in this posting are live charts, so my comments will describe how it is now, but in a week it will be showing new data and a new week. Since I think it is more important to be in touch with what the market is doing NOW than to preserve the historical chart, this is, IMHO, a reasonable choice. Just don’t be surprised if the chart I describe is not the one you see a few weeks from now! If you would like to see the historical chart, you may enter custom date ranges on the charting tool at www.bigcharts.com
Wall Street Week – Friday, January 28th, 2011
Some Calendar Issues
I’ve not looked at the calendar lately. It’s in the To Be Done list. Mostly ought to be early earnings, then in 3 weeks we have options expiration.
I’d be watching The Fed calendar, except they are stuck and I’m being lazy.
The Dollar Lately
Time to measure our Rubber Ruler.
Pretty much flat / trendless currencies. The only things of note are the way Gold has rolled over and died at the start of the year and that in the last couple of weeks the Euro is rising. I’d speculate that a bunch of folks in Europe have decided maybe the Euro won’t collapse from the PIIGS and moving back out of gold after the holidays is a good thing. From the US perspective, not a lot to do with it.
On a 6 month chart you can see that for 5 months TBT has been a good ride, but even it has ‘gone flat’. The indicators do say to ‘be out of the dollar’ but it’s not ‘into” anything else much. At least not here. So I’d suspect some particular stock sectors. Time to go hunting… (But the ‘out of dollars’ strength is very weak with only 20 on the ADX line…)
What happens if we zoom in on the last 2 weeks? Anything we can see happening “now”?
And here is the 10 day Euro chart, with BZF the Brazilian Real added, where you can see that Gold nose dive in striking fashion and the run into FXF Swiss Franks and FXE Euros. Some time ago I’d said it was likely time to ease out of gold. Eventually those FXF and FXE buyers are going to move the money somewhere else. The trick is to figure out where…
I’d made a ‘be out of base metals’ call. Looks like only Tin has survived. Wonder what the deal is with tin… Something to investigate as a potential.
Last time I’d said:
Silver has been a nice ride, but I’d step out until it’s resolved what’s going on. Only use “Vegas Money” for silver at this point. Copper is a major economic indicator. It’s back to an advance, but not much of one. Worth a closer look, but probably not the best entry right now. It will all depend on how much and when China buys.
I’d score that a decent call, especially given how silver has rolled over. I do note that JJN Nickle is also rising. Tin and Nickle. But not copper. Batteries? Solder? Christmas gadgets? Hmmmm…
Ag Commodities have been where all the action is located. There looks to be a modestly strong “spike and drop” pattern that could be played, especially in things like Cotton and Sugar. That kind of pattern makes me nervous, though. It’s not weather or demand, it’s a trade house or a whale, like China, that may be gaming the markets with real buys, but then stopping suddenly to reset prices. It’s hard to predict when those folks will ‘swap sides’.
Last time: “Only time will tell if the trend is fully broken, that that ADX line at near 20 is pretty trendless. At this point I’d step out of the ag trades and wait for confirmation of an advance from here (or at least put stop loss orders behind the positions.”
That was ‘mid December’ and was good advice at that time. Missing was a ‘buy back in early January. Now we get to wait for the next Jump / Drop to trade it… Lazy has it’s costs… In this case I ‘banked’ but didn’t “set up for the next cycle” so I get to sit a cycle. Time to do homework… But first blush looks like wood, cocoa and cattle are still early cycle (i.e. we’re not building a lot of houses yet and the feed costs have folks selling cattle). Long term investers could look at PCL a timber REIT with a nice looking chart at the moment.
Monthly Running Stocks
So what “won” and “lost” over the last month? (though remember, they may not be the winners next month… it’s just to provide ‘context’). The start of year month often does show a trend for the rest of the year as the big investment houses gear up and start “Dialing For Dollars” calling accounts and pushing their newest strategy at their clients. That shows in what starts to move. Everybody as a new New Years List and starts executing.
10 Best Performing Industries DJ US Home Construction Index 10.26% DJ US Automobiles Index 9.51% DJ US Heavy Construction Index 9.21% DJ US Computer Services Index 9.10% DJ US Real Estate Holding & Develop... 8.72% DJ US Defense Index 8.39% DJ US Aluminum Index 8.36% DJ US Paper Index 8.11% DJ US Forestry & Paper Index 8.10% DJ US Containers & Packaging Index 7.77%
Classical “Cyclical Recovery”. OK, that’s the playbook for The Big Boys for the new year. Most likely going to be the best place for us, too. Bottom fishing in the survivor homebuilders, picking up some FORD or ???, and looking at those ‘resources’ used in a recovery like aluminum, paper goods, packaging, etc.
What was being dumped?
10 Worst Performing Industries DJ US Platinum & Precious Metals In... -14.92% DJ US Electronic Office Equipment I... -7.61% DJ US Toys Index -7.19% DJ US Nonferrous Metals Index -5.94% DJ US Distillers & Vintners Index -5.74% DJ US Mortgage Finance Index -5.60% DJ US Gold Mining Index -5.39% DJ US Leisure Goods Index -5.11% DJ US Clothing & Accessories Index -5.11% DJ US Brewers Index -3.96%
The Christmas Trade. Toys, precious metals (think Jewlery), booze and clothes. Gee, Christmass has ended, who knew? Last time I’d said about the winners:
Footwear, clothing, furnishing, home improvement. The “Christmas Retail” trade. Usually ends mid January, so prepare to exit… Platinum and Precious metals. Yeah, we saw that bounce. I’d be careful of that one going forward too.
I’d count that as another “good call”. (Why keep score? So I can see when I’ve started “screwing up” and scram to cash before the damage gets too big while I figure out what I was missing. It’s not about “bragging” it’s about avoiding THINKING you are calling things well when missing the ball… So, nice to know I’m still swinging well. But what about NOW?…)
Weekly Running Stocks
The best and worst of the week? Do they tell a different story on the short term trade?
10 Best Performing Industries DJ U.S. Iron & Steel Index 6.13% DJ US Diversified Industrials Index 5.59% DJ US Tires Index 5.58% DJ US General Industrials Index 5.55% DJ US Home Improvement Retailers In... 5.36% DJ US Containers & Packaging Index 5.27% DJ US Mobile Telecommunications Ind... 5.06% DJ US Paper Index 4.17% DJ US Forestry & Paper Index 4.16% DJ US Specialized Consumer Services... 4.09%
Looks like the same story to me. We add a bit of steel (probably an early entry there) and have tires come around again. (Not a lot of tires for Christmas, so folks buy ‘what they need’ the following months). Cell phones packaging and paper goods. Yup, economic recovery play, early stage.
10 Worst Performing Industries DJ US Electronic Office Equipment I... -6.48% DJ US Platinum & Precious Metals In... -4.52% DJ US Nonferrous Metals Index -3.43% DJ US Internet Index -2.81% DJ US Marine Transportation Index -2.68% DJ US Travel & Tourism Index -1.66% DJ US Railroads Index -1.43% DJ US Gambling Index -1.38% DJ US Auto Parts Index -1.28% DJ US Mortgage Finance Index -1.12%
Office managers still being tight with the money (they do that for a year or so more), precious metals – OK we’ve covered that. Internet? Hmmm… The ocean transports getting hit, along with rail? Oil has been rising, maybe that? Then all the ‘holiday is over’ trade continues. Vegas and tourism down. OK. And we’re spent from Christmas so less going into car stuff and with mortage rates flat for a while not a lot of kick in the mortage business.
Not much to use ‘going forward’ though. At least not on the loosing side.
This is just a parting farewell to the retail trade and a look at “did I call the exit right”?
To that I’d add that even the high end retail is starting to look a bit tired as we end the Christmas Retail trade. Coach and Tiffany are still climbing, the it’s starting to look like a flattening trend. I’d not dump it yet, but watch it more closely and use stop loss orders or protective puts.
Probably could have been more forceful about ‘time to exit’, OTOH, using stop losses or puts would have gotten you out with a nice clean profit.
What Is Our Asset Class Context?
Let’s look at the S&P 500 largest stocks in America compared with some other kinds of assets; a 20 year+ maturity bond fund, oil, gold, Yen.
SPY The S&P 500 ETF GLD Gold ETF USO Oil ETF FXY Japanese Yen currency fund TLT 20 Year U.S. Treasury Bond fund FXE Euro currency ETF SLV Silver fund BZF Brazilian currency ETF EWA Australia ETF WOOD A wood and paper products fund
Most interesting thing on the chart is “WOOD” (a basket with some of those paper product folks in it too).
Got WOOD? Wouldn’t hurt to get some…
I’d also said last time:
At the start of December, the SPY main ticker gave an “entry” with MACD crossover to “blue on top” and DMI+ (blue) over DMI- (red). So as of now, stocks are OK. BUT notice that RSI touched 80 at the last top and is now lower at the inflection point. The main thrust of the run is over. We’re most likely going into a ‘sideways roller’ with swing trades, though there could be a minor up trend to it. Just not a lot of “rocket ride”.
And that is where we have been. “Steady up” but not dramatic. It did the ‘sideways roller’ to the end of the year, and we’ve got that uptrend now.
10 Day Hourly Fast Trader Chart
What A Mess. Things ran up into the POTUS SOTU, then just Crap Dice. Does not bode well…
What about Brazil? Also India and China.
Not to brag… oh, what the heck, one little brag… last time I talked about a month before, so this is now 2 months back, saying “get out of Brazil”. And that was an exactly right call. God I love moments like that. God I wish I was more willing to short at moments like that…
A month ago, I’d groused:
So, we’ve had a load of “crap” from Minsters of Stupidity as they have attempted to put on taxes on foreign investment (Brazil) and other kinds of exchange controls. Plus China made grumpy talk about our “bugger the dollar” behaviours. Any of that show up in the charts? Or is that dollar strength just foreign central banks buying dollars in an attempt to (relatively) bugger their currencies?
Well, since then they’ve all been dropping. Only thing interesting is that EWC Canada that keeps chugging along and EWW Mexico that’s doing OK.
Don’t see much different now, other than that “Emerging Europe” GUR is doing OK. I didn’t call an ‘exit’ on India. “My Bad” for not being explicit on them and China. Then again, I had said was stepping out in general, but still… China, Brazil, and India have all gone together when they’ve gone… So I need to not be so close focus on Brazil and keep a wider watch …
I do want to point out, though, how the BZF currency has just tanked. Now you see what I spend so much time and attention on “Ministry Of Stupidity Speaks” moments. Be it a Brazilian Minster of Stupidity or the POTUS having a Ministers Moment…
EWZ - Brazil BZF - Brazilian Real currency FXI - China EWA - Australia EPI - India - WIsdom Tree fund EWC - Canada EWW - Mexico GUR - Middle East Fund
Closeup on Gold
A month ago I said:
So when everyone is trashing their currencies, what’s left? Traditionally it’s gold. But this chart is looking a bit ‘tired’ to me too. It’s been a very long run.
The peaks are just a touch higher each time, but the trend is dying. Look at ADX – about 12. Paltry. The 25 day Simple Moving Average SMA line is flat. Gold may have more life in it, but I’d expect it’s more likely to roll over and drop as Christmas jewlery demand drops out. MACD is continuing to dip closer to the zero line and the ‘up runs’ with blue on top are ever shorter and harder to catch. Step away, just step away.
Loads of risk to the downside, not a lot of upside momentum.
And this is now just a stellar example of how to spot a top and time to head for the exits. Study it. Cherish it.
We’ll be saying goodby to the Gold Trade for a while. Yes, I’ll keep the chart in, but don’t expect me to do much other than sneer at it. There are Gold Short ETFs, and I might try one just to get more ‘short time’ under my belt, but it”s not high on my ‘must do’ styles. The biggy is that the chart is your friend, and the trend is your friend, and both the chart and the friend are saying gold is not your friend right now.
VIX the Volatility Index
OK, I was overly paranoid about the VIX. I did note that there is often a fade of volatilty in the holidays, but really, I let that scare me out of catching a nice early January couple of percent run?
Same thing I said last time, only in spades:
Don’t like this. Don’t like it one bit. Volatility is getting rather low. When it does that, it often precedes a drop. Yeah, it could go lower still before a drop… but it’s just getting a bit too quiet in the volatility camp…
On the other side, that means it’s relatively cheap to buy “puts” to protect your positions against a drop…
Though I do have to point out that volatility often plunges duriing the holidays.
VIX - Volatility Index (not a ticker, you can't trade it) VXX - Short term VIX futures ETN (a ticker you can trade) VXZ - Medium term VIX futures ETN (a ticker you can trade) FXY - Japanese Yen SH - "Short" sell of SPY SPY - S&P 500 benchmark IYT - Transports, a leading sector XHB - Homebuilders, a leading sector and "canary" XRT - Retail
Ideas of the Week
Investigating the “recovery play” stocks and sectors. Looking at the GUR a bit more closely. Checking out Mexico and Canada stocks. Getting reoriented to ‘news flow’. Time to “wake up and smell the coffee” and notice that it’s a lot more expensive. And maybe even ‘get a little wood’… along with an nearly check around of the home builders for who is making money.
Comparison of Broader Mixed Asset Classes
Basically, Ag is the place.
To some extent this chart recapitulates some of the above charts. It adds “wood” and puts some things together in the same chart, but right now, not alot of new news here.
The 6 month asset class race:
SPY S & P 500 US stocks GLD Gold EEM Emerging Markets FXY Japanese Yen JJC Copper TLT Long term bonds 20 year+ USO U.S. Oil DBA Agricultural basket SLV Silver WOOD Wood / Timber
Oil And Fuels?
We’ve had a nice little run in fuels, mostly gasoline, oil, and coal, but they look to have flattened to me. Not a time for an entry. Last time I did say:
Well, looks like a lump of coal in the Christmas stocking is about the best we can do ;-)
Good for 5%-8% if you timed the exit right. Not feeling as keen on it now, but probably ought to look at the news flow and a specific set of coal charts before making that descision. I’d put it in “look don’t touch” right now.
The fast trade chart does not look good either.
So what happened in the Tech Market relative to world markets?
Well, now we know where folks have been dumping their money. Tech Stocks. Shades of 1990. OK, what gadgets did you buy for Christmas? Go buy those stocks…. (only 1/2 joking… if everyone around you is dumping their Dell and getting an iPad, well, …. that’s a giant Clue Stick to whack with… and yes, put those two on a chart together. It’s a homework assignment. You will thank me later.)
QQQQ Nasdaq 100 mostly Tech companies DIA Dow Jones 30 Industrials SPY S & P 500 largest companies in the U.S.A. MDY Midcap (Middle sized in terms of market capitalization) RUT Russel 2000 - a collection of 2000 companies from small to large. EWZ Brazil fund EWA Australia fund EWO Austria fund EWW Mexico fund
Last month I’d said:
Looks like Tech is the winner, with ‘small cap’ close behind. We’ve got the ‘misc’ foreign markest like EWO being very volatile, but the tends is flattening. Not worth the ulcers. So “Cubes” are the vehicle of chioce instead of SPY for a while.
Golly. Called it exactly right. Then sat on my dollars, drank my cocoa, and didn’t Do The Trade. Sheesh, here I am telling folks “pick up cash here” and I walk away empty handed… Grumble frufts…
(It’s important to Whack yourself with The Clue Stick every so often so you know what you are doing wrong. And often, for me “not doing” is what I do wrong. So WHACK! WHAACK whack!!)
I note in passing that EWO is picking up steam again. Guess folks have decided that Greece will not be stiffing the Austrian banks after all and Germany will bail them out. OK, I can work with that…
Were Bonds a good idea?
Nope, not at all… Shorting bonds with TBT has been the best game in town.
And TLT has continued to drop, but TBT is not monetizing it. “Slipage” between an ETF and the underlaying can be a sad thing… On the plus side, WIP, the World Infation Protected bond fund is not losing money and may even make you a bit.
OK, lets take a peak at the Bonds Race but with TBT (the “long term bonds” short sell ETN – that is, the thing that “shorts bonds”) as the main ticker symbol:
Some Selected Global Oils:
XOM Exxon Mobil - Largest, U.S. / Global COP Conoco Philips - U.S. with Russian exposure CVX Chevron Texaco - U.S. PBR Petrobras - Brazil PCZ Petro Canada HAS NOW MERGED WITH SU SUNCOR BP British Petroleum STO Norway E Eni Italy TOT Total - France RDSA Royal Dutch Shell IMO Imperial Oil - Canada Oil and Oil Sands SU Suncor - Canadian Oil Sands SSL Sasol - South African Synthetic Oil Company
Man oh man are you getting ripped off at the gas station, and Exxon and Total are loving it. Petrobras not so much…
And the score card from last call:
Last time I’d said:
Not a lot to warm my heart here, but as a small holding in an investment portfolio, puting some XOM and SSL (small part!) ought to work out OK.. PBR has turned into “dead money” as their Ministry Of Stupidity has killed interest in Brazil and as they have a new Socialist Leader who is less prone to leaving their markets alone that the last leader..
I’d add to that that the other Oil Majors like CVX and COP are looking well too. I need to add a chart of the oil refiners, like VLO Valero… It is looking great right now, but I need to do the whole set.
Love it. Just love it. Now, why did I sit on my thumbs instead of doing the trade? Oh yeah, that being lazy part…
If you are in, stay in until we have the ‘failure to advance’ topping motion. I don’t see gas prices dropping any time soon, so this trade will likely cruise for a while.
What about oil service companies and Brazilian sugar / alcohol?
Brazil we’ve talked about, just say no, for now. Oil Services are doing OK and with higher oil prices ought to stay OK for a while.
Ag and Ag Suport / Input companies
Fertilizer and inputs, especially potash suppliers. With high ag prices, farmers can pay up for more “juice” for the field. Sales will be good for a while…
Not looking very good right now. Guess middle of a cold winter is not a great time to be selling fertilizer and seeds. Watch this space for an early spring entry.
SEE the SEA!
Looks like shipping has topped out for the Cruise Lines and like the rest of shipping isn’t moving much yet.
RCL and CCL did a ‘step up’ about mid-month. Probably right after I made that statement. My bad. Don’t know why. I’d speculate some kind of bookings or earnings announcement. Still not enthusiastic about them though.
Here is the RCL / CCL cruise lines chart. You can see how these have much more range (or “beta”) that the S&P 500 SPY fund. You can also see have after RSI touched 80, forward progress on RCL came to a halt.
You can also see how a ‘buy if touched” above that stalled point or watching for a ’80 to 50 buy again’ trade would have made some bucks.
OK, these are looking good. If shopping for long term dividends and some asset appreciation in an inflationary cycle, I’d look here. FFO (Funds From Operations) is what you want, and not a lot of debt.
PEI Pennsylvania Real Estate - Mall REIT (REMOVED to make better graph) VTR Ventas - sr. care, nursing homes, hospitals PSA Public Storage - junk storage units BXP Boston Properties - office REIT on BosWash corridor HCN Health Care REIT - extended care, senior care, medical offices HCP Health Care Properties - ex. care, senior living, Dr. offices PCL Plum Creek Timber - lumber and trees REIT SPY S & P 500 broad stock market benchmark RPT Ramco Mall REIT PLD Prologis - logistics
Conclusions and Likely Actions
Homework. Tech. REITS. Integrated Oils with gas stations…
The Long Term Context
This is a very long duration chart (5 years) of NYSE and one of the S&P 500 (SPY). They will not change much from week to week (just one tick mark) so guides longer term attitude. I’ve moved it to the bottom as you really don’t need to look at it often.
Last time, after some paranoia talking, I’d said:
But the indicators say “be in”. That configuration CAN mean a slow but steady rise in the market. I think it’s most likely just “flat for a couple of months” until the new congress is seated.
And we had them seated and things have resumed growing. I’m being too paranoid in general. It’s more a ‘sector rotation’ than a ‘market rollover’; so time to be in the market, but with selected sectors. General Economic Recovery theme, early business cycle timing.
Spiders (S&P 500) looks very similar. Again, the indicators are “be in, be cautious”.
Automated Stock Screens
OK, nobody ever said anything one way or the other about the software based stock ticker selection, so I deleting it. Now I’m figuring I can use it as part of an “investors corner” so I’m off to tune it up and bring it back up to speed…
If all this talk of indicators is leaving you wondering what the heck I’m talking about, hit the link in the heading of this paragraph and there is a bit of an explanation.
Remember that on any stock or ticker I say I’m looking at, you don’t just go buy it. You wait for a stock entry indication to get the best possible entry into the position.