For what it’s worth, I usually start any one day with a look at this chart.
It has a broad swath of “things” on it. A bit of oil, some grains, gold, stocks, bonds, copper, etc.
In one look you get a quick “feel” for what’s moving and which way. So for the last week or two I’ve not said much about investments. Why? Well, other than just being busy trying to knock out the GHCN v1 vs v3 comparison (and a surprise drug reaction to Ibuprofen) the simple fact is that I said to “hide out in bonds” a while ago and nothing has changed. I look at this chart and, well, it’s just not got anything to get excited about (unless you like to short things).
A live version:
It is possible, in Windows, to set that chart as your “Wallpaper” and have it automatically update every so often. ( I had mine set to about 10 am each day, once opening volatility was out of the way and a reasonable ‘trend’ indicate was possible). Then if you see something interesting, hop over to BigCharts.com and explore related tickers.
SPY - S&P 500 - the Benchmark for all other tickers GLD - Gold ETF - Fear and Inflation index RUT - Russel 2000 index ETF - Broad market and small caps EEM - Emerging Markets ETF basket JJC - Copper ETN - Broad manufacturing indicator TIP - Treasury Inflation Protected bonds - Benchmark safe haven. USO - US Oil ETN - energy sector AND broad economic indicator QQQQ - NASDAQ 100 - Tech indicator - more consumer sensitive less financials JJG - Grain ETN - Ag proxy and weather sensitive TLT - US Treasuries long duration - "Flight to safety" indicator and moves more than TIP
In one quick look you can see that TLT / bonds as a safe haven continue to run. TIP is in a gentle steady rise. Everything else pretty much dropping.
GLD has a general downtrend and has done a little “pop” to the 50 day moving average line. That’s a very risky time to make an entry, so I’m sitting out, but it might well be that gold is starting a new run. My “rules” include buying at the crossover / start of such a run, then either selling at the “middle of the SMA stack touch” which is about the 50 day, or at minimum buying Put Options behind the position. In a general downtrend, most SMA Touch moments are followed by a resumption of trend downward. In a ‘flat roller’ it will oscillate each side but not by much. Only about 1 in 3 or 1:4 will it “punch through” to a new run higher. Better to protect than leverage up at this point, then buy more at the next dip back to the SMA stack from the topside once a new rising trend is confirmed.
Here’s the same chart with GLD as the main ticker (so I clicked on the Bigcharts link, then just changed the main ticker to GLD as it looked interesting on the basic chart):
You can see how RSI has been at 20 and now has ‘higher lows’ while MACD has had a crossover (but is below zero so still a down trend). DMI is still ‘red on top’ but threatening a crossover to blue on top. Price had a quick pop, but is at the 50 day SMA line.
That’s what the start of a new run higher looks like. It is also what “surfing down” looks like when it pops to the SMA stack and fails to advance… The way to choose between them is what happens next. Does price just “fall away to the downside” again? Or does it “punch through and hold”?
There are a couple of ways to manage the bet at this point, but first, notice just how FAST gold moved; from falling, to the SMA line. Basically it opened AT the line 2 days back. As gold is ‘fixed’ in Europe and trades a lot in Asia, they get ‘first bite at the apple’ and US prices are often a jump. Not a lot of time to ‘trend follow’… A “buy if touched” order floating just above last close would have bought you in AT the line. Not good… So I trade gold very sporadically and very carefully being aware of that “step function” behaviour. Here, we wait. If it falls away back to the dropping trend, no big loss. If it spikes up, typically in a few days it comes back to the SMA line from above and pauses. That’s when to buy (provided there is no news flow indicating stability, peace and economic growth breaking out in the world… a rare event…)
So looking at the individual tickers tells a lot. Is oil plunging? Longer term that’s good for the global economy, but usually means the economy is tanking right now. Has oil taken a spike? Maybe a war breaking out somewhere or news of economic growth starting.
Is copper falling? Not much stuff being sold / manufactured.
Are grains rising or falling? Drives food costs, drives Ag Industry sales, even impacts restaurants and meat prices.
How do Emerging Markets, RUT 2000, Nasdaq 100 and SPY compare to each other? Emerging markets often move first and furthest, RUT right behind. If they are below the more staid SPY, likely a bear market. If they spike up, we’re likely starting a nice run up. QQQQ has been beating them all, and rolled over last. It will likely roll up near the middle (or perhaps earlier than most) and run faster up when it does. But not all trends last forever, so don’t get wedded to QQQQ; it can have a “Tech Bubble” moment…
GLD TLT and TIP make a “Flight to Safety” and “Relative Fear” indication. TIP vs TLT is also a bit of an inflation indication. TIP has an inflation index ticker so rises when inflation erodes TLT. TLT bounces up more on fear moments and Federal Reserve Bank actions. Gold is largely driven by Central Bank buying and selling, but with about 25% being gold sales into India. When India is in recession, that’s a problem. When Central Banks are scared, they buy gold, and that props up the price. Right now it’s mixed.
So you can look at this one graph, and get a quick feel for fear in the market, fundamental inflation in real terms, Oil Shocks and what they might be doing – or oil glut in recessions as they approach, food pressures and Ag status, along with general demand for manufactured goods and a broad economic indication. Then compare the stock indexes ( SPY, RUT, QQQQ, EEM ) and see if the more volatile / sensitive ones are leading in a direction you like… or are they approaching an inflection point? Also these things together indicate: is it time to go “Risk Off” into a “Flight to safety” asset, or “Risk On” into stocks and other risk assets.
One quick look and you are rapidly “oriented” to the situational awareness of the global markets.
So that’s why I’ll often just look at this One Stop Chart and figure there isn’t much to do…
With that said, many of these have been dropping long enough that RSI is at or near 20. That’s typically bottom fishing time and a rise, even just back to the SMA stack, is likely. I’ll trade those movements on a 10 day hourly chart until a new rising trend is confirmed. These are going to be “counter trend rallies” until then, so short fast trades up to the SMA stack, then out for the fall (or buy puts behind them).
Advanced style trades are to buy the puts AND put stop loss sell orders behind the stock. If prices fall, you are stopped out of the ‘long stocks position’ and make money on the puts. If prices rise, you stay long the stock (making money) and the relatively cheap insurance of Puts expires worthless; but you dramatically reduced your risk profile and were positioned to make money with either directional move. That’s the kind of thing you need to do if ‘going long’ in a ‘counter trend rally’. Not just “buy the stock and hope”.
“Hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”