S&P 500

  • 13 Nov
    How close is the S&P 500 to a level that you should REALLY start to worry?

    How close is the S&P 500 to a level that you should REALLY start to worry?

    If you were watching the market sell off again yesterday, you probably started to wonder as I did if the market was really starting to follow through on the bearish sentiment that drove it back into correction territory for the Dow and the NASDAQ. The S&P plunged nearly 2% amid worries that the entire tech sector, which has paced and even led the market throughout its bullish trend since 2009, has finally peaked. The “FANG” stocks – Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet, and Amazon – all led the selloff as reports indicated that demand for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone has weakened.

    If you’re listening to the talking heads on market media outlets, it’s even easier to buy into the negative hype, as more and more of them wring their hands and talk about the end of the bull market. The to remember, however is that while a correction always precedes a legitimate bear market, not all corrections are followed by a bear market. In fact, corrections are entirely normal, and even healthy; they are one of the things that makes a long-term upward trend sustainable. During its nearly ten-year bullish run since 2009, the stock market has experienced numerous pullbacks and corrections.



    Does that mean that all of the angst, worry and concern is overblown? I’m not sure; the truth is that the longer the market holds an upward trend, the greater the major trend reversal risk becomes. The truth is that when the market’s long-term upward trend does finally reverse – and make no mistake, it certainly will – the drop is likely to be extreme. First, consider that since bottoming in late 2009, the S&P 500 has more than quadrupled value; next, consider that in the last two bear markets, from 2008 to 2009 and prior to that, from 2000 to 2002, the downward trend shaved 50% or more from that index each time. As of yesterday’s close, the S&P 500 closed a little above 2,700 with its all-time high in late September coming at around 2,900; that means that if the market is actually starting the latest, inevitable slide to bear market territory, the bottom might not be seen until the index is around 1,400, or even lower.

    I think the real question isn’t if the market is going to reverse; it isn’t even when, despite the talk that seems to be dominating market news right now. Even the question of why or how it could happen is less important at the moment than identifying the point that I think every smart investor should be ready to acknowledge the reversal could actually be happening.

    Analysts like to use percentage declines as a barometer for how severe the latest drop from a high is. 10% is generally accepted as the level at which the market is officially in a corrective phase. The market’s drop in October put things in the second corrective phase of the year. Where is does the bear market come to play? The next percentage level is 20% – which for the S&P 500 would be around 2,300 based on its September highs. We’re still more than 400 points away from that point, which is why you might see some analysts maintaining their generally bullish stance right now.



    I like to use trend and pivot analysis on the broad market to supplement these generally accepted levels. I think the market is closer to a legitimate bearish signal than the 20% minimum suggests, and it is another reason a lot of people are wringing their hands right now. Here is what I’m seeing right now.

     

    This chart is for the S&P 500 SPDR (SPY), the ETF that matches the movement of the index. The prices shown on the right for the stock don’t equate directly to the S&P 500, but the percentages between prices are consistent, so this is a good proxy chart for the index. I’ve drawn a horizontal red line along the bottom of the chart using the previous low points the S&P 500 tested during the first correction of the year. That levels corresponds roughly with the 2,600 level for the index; as of yesterday’s close the market is a little less than 5.5% above that point. It came near to that point in October before rallying strongly towards the last couple of days and into the beginning of November.



    This red line is what I think most investors should be treating as the signal point; not necessarily for the point where the market has finally turned to bear market conditions, but rather the point where the market can actually confirm a legitimate downward trend. We’re not quite there, although the drop from the market’s pivot high a few days ago is a warning sign. If the index drops below its October pivot low, the market will officially be in a short-term downward trend. If that is then followed by a drop below the red line I’ve drawn, I think you’d be smart to say that the downward trend  is more likely to extend into an intermediate time frame, which could last anywhere from just a couple of months to as long as nine months.

    An intermediate downward trend doesn’t guarantee the trend will become a long-term one, and it doesn’t guarantee the market will drop into bear market territory; however given how raw the market’s emotional state appears to be right now, I think you would foolish to discount the very real possibility that the market could easily shift from uncertainty into legitimate panic once the market breaks below the 2,600 level. If that panic extends to massive selling, we’ll see a lot of average investors getting out of their positions and you’ll hear even more about concepts like “safe havens” and “flight to quality.” These are market conditions that exist when investors start dumping stocks and moving en masse into instruments like bonds, money markets, and even to cash. That hasn’t happened yet, but pay attention to the 2,600 level for the S&P 500. If the index drops below that level, and stays below it, don’t be surprised if the selling gets even worse. That’s why even as I’m writing about stocks in this space that I think represent interesting values right now, you should be very careful about taking on any new positions. When the sell-off really starts, it will be hard to find a place to hide, which means that you should be holding stocks you’re willing to ride out over the long-term, with conservative positions sizes that make it easier to limit your overall risk even in an extended bear market.


  • 29 Oct
    Dogs of the S&P 500? These 3 stocks crashed 20% or more this week but could be good values now

    Dogs of the S&P 500? These 3 stocks crashed 20% or more this week but could be good values now

    The market closed a volatile week with yet another selloff on Friday, and has managed to push both the S&P 500 as well as the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly into correction territory with the NASDAQ 100. Along the way, investors, analysts and experts everywhere are now asking the question about where the market is going to go from here. Days where the Dow moves 300 points or more in a single day have seemingly been the norm over the last couple of weeks, and that is something that makes the market a hard place for most investors to keep up with. More →

  • 12 Oct
    These 2 sectors have taken the biggest beating from the latest market rout

    These 2 sectors have taken the biggest beating from the latest market rout

    There’s really nothing like a little bit of volatility in the stock market to make people sit up and take notice. Whether you’re a seasoned, everyday investor or a relative neophyte putting a couple of hundred dollars each month into a 401(k) account, the last couple of days have prompted just about anybody that is trying to make their money work for them with the stock market wonder what is going on. More →

  • 25 Jun
    “Buy the Dip” is a terrific, time-proven bullish strategy – has its time passed?

    “Buy the Dip” is a terrific, time-proven bullish strategy – has its time passed?

    No matter whether we look at the market and economy with a short or long-term perspective, and no matter what method we usually use to make money in our investments, as investors we are all limited by our inability to see the future. Since we can’t see or know what’s going to happen, we’re left to do our best at making semi-educated guesses using imperfect information. That also means relying on historical data to make forward-looking decisions like what to do with our money. We assume that because a certain method, strategy, or technique worked under certain conditions in the past, it should work again now, or in the future when conditions appear similar.

    There are a lot of investing techniques and strategies out there, and a lot of the most popular ones use a really catchy turn of phrase so you can remember them easily. “The trend is your friend” is one that I learned early in my investing career to help me determine which direction, bullish or bearish, my trades should generally be taking. Another one that has been really popular for the last few years is “buy the dip.” This is one that worked out really well for short-term traders all the way through 2016 and 2017. Here’s what I mean. The chart below is for the SPY, which is an exchange-traded-fund (ETF) that tracks the movement of the &P 500 index.

     

    The green diagonal is a good reference for the market’s long-term trend line during the two-year period shown here. “Buy the dip” means that whenever the stock market experiences a short-term drop – how much really depends on the individual’s preference, and can be a percentage from the last high, a total number, or a visual reference such as the one I’m using here – it’s really an opportunity to buy in and ride the next wave higher. If you’re a short-term trader, using a trend line like the one I’ve drawn would have provided an excellent reference point. I’ve highlighted four difference points over the last two years where a drop to or near to the trend line provided a really good entry point for a bullish trade. While you can’t buy the index, you can trade options on it, or you can work with an ETF like the SPY to go long on the stock or to use call options at a lower cost than index options would carry. If you buy on these kinds of dips, you would hold for as long as the market is showing solid bullish momentum, and then sell when you see the next short-term dip. Taking that approach on any of these four entry points would have generated excellent profits.



    Another approach that really became popular during this period is what you’ve probably heard called “passive investing.” It also relies on the same kind of signals for an entry, but then suggests that since the market is going to experience the same kind of short-term ebbs and flows, all you really need to do is find the next entry point and then ride the next several waves higher. If you were fortunate enough to get in on the dip in July 2016, around $201 and then followed the passive investing mindset, by the end of 2017 you would have been looking at almost $70 per share in profit from the SPY. That’s a two-year return of almost 34%! It’s really no wonder that so many people gravitated to passive investing using ETFs or stock index mutual funds like the Vanguard 500 Index Fund during this time; it really seemed like the market was a no-brainer, can’t-miss kind of investment.

    The problem that underlies methods like passive investing, or even the normal “buy the dip” mentality is that most investors lose the discipline to pay attention to signals that the market is changing. It usually means they just assume the upward run will never end, and the latest drop is just another “dip” in the latest series of dips before it picks up again. That puts the average investor at big risk when the broad market experiences the kind of rare, “sea change” shifts that only come along once or twice a decade. The last economic cycle that ended in a recession in 2008 is a perfect example.

    As with the last chart, I’m using the green diagonal for the market’s long-term trend from late 2002 through the beginning of 2008. The blue circles highlight terrific “buy the dip” points that had a lot of people thinking the market was just going to keep going up forever. The red circle highlights a dip in the latter part of 2007 that by all appearances looked like just another dip in the longer trend, but really proved to be just the last desperate gasp of momentum the market had left. At the beginning of 2008, the SPY dropped below its long-term trend line and found a temporary bottom around $132 per share. That’s about a 9% drop from the entry around $145 that most “buy the dip” traders were taking in late 2007, and should have been a clear signal to exit the trade and cut your losses. If you didn’t recognize that signal, your loss could have been much, much bigger since the market didn’t find a bottom until early 2009, when the SPY was around $67 per share. That’s a drop of nearly 54% if you rode it all the way to bottom, and didn’t get reclaimed until late 2012. That’s the kind of loss, and extended, protracted recovery that most traders that love to “buy the dip” when the times are good can’t handle.



    One of the big keys to being successful with any investing strategy, no matter whether it works on a short-term basis or with a long-term perspective is really less about when you buy a stock than it is about when you sell. Smart “buy the dip” investors will usually sell when they see the market staging short-term weakness that could become a longer-term downward slide. That locks in their profits and opens up the opportunity to buy in again on that next dip, hopefully at a low point. Acting quickly on taking profits also would have the advantage of getting you out of the market before a “last gasp” rally turns into a market reversal.

    The danger remains, however that could buy a dip expecting just another upward thrust, but ultimately see the market reverse right after you got in. That’s why it’s also important to pay attention to trends and recognize that when the market drops below major, long-term trend lines, the risk of a “sea change” reversal is incrementally higher than normal. If you bought the last dip in late 2007, for example, it would have been much better to recognize the drop below $140 for what it was. Even if you didn’t get out until the market found a temporary support point around $132, an 8% loss on that trade would have been far easier to deal with than riding the SPY all the way down to $67 hoping for an eventual turnaround.



    Okay, now let’s take all of that and talk about what the market is doing now. As of this writing, the market is down about 3% from its last high about two weeks ago. Is that just another “dip” that investors should treat as a buying opportunity, or maybe something more serious. Let’s take a look.

    The green diagonal line is, once again our proxy for the market’s long-term trend, with the dotted blue line acting as visual reference for its short-term trend. “Buying the dip” would have been really profitable if you bought in April, and dips in the early part of May, and then again late that month would have also have yielded some decent short-term gains. Notice that the index has dropped below that short-term trend line as of today. If it turns back to the upside, that could be another good short-term signal, but it also should be taken as a warning sign that it’s time to be a little bit cautious. Are we looking for a major, “sea change” kind of reversal? Not yet; but it’s also true that the index is just a short distance – less than 5%, in fact – away from the long-term trend line. A drop below $260 per share in the SPY is exactly the kind of signal that “buying the dip” is going to put you at an increasing risk of being on the wrong side of the market, at exactly the wrong time.

    What if the market proves the naysayers wrong yet again? The problem with the long-term trend right now is that the market’s activity since late January has forced that trend to flatten out, meaning that it is losing momentum and strength. Short-term traders who recognize this reality won’t necessarily stop trading, but they will usually act even more quickly than normal to close out winning trades and lock in profits than they might be to let their winners run. The fact is that until the market moves past its all-time high, reached in late January when the SPY peaked at almost $287 per share, it’s hard to make any kind of substantive case for any kind of continued bullish rally that would extend this bull market past its current nine-year run and possibly into the next decade.


  • 07 May
    What You Can Learn From Berkshire’s Annual Shareholder Meeting

    What You Can Learn From Berkshire’s Annual Shareholder Meeting

    This past Saturday, the Woodstock for capitalists was on as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger held their annual shareholder conference.

    If you want to succeed in investing and reach your financial goals, this conference and the insights from it are all you need to listen to in order to learn about investing, what’s going on, and what to do about it.

    In today’s article, I’ll summarize what the key points to take out are and also save you the 6-hour watch.



    More →

  • 03 May
    Buffett Thinks You Can Turn $400 Into $400,000, But Here’s The Reality

    Buffett Thinks You Can Turn $400 Into $400,000, But Here’s The Reality

    Buffett recently gave an interview where he discussed how if he would have invested the first $114.75 he made in 1942 in the S&P 500 and reinvested the dividends, he would now have $400,000.

    That’s a nice way to sell the stock market to people, but I really disagree with Buffett and with what he’s selling. Today, I’ll discuss reality.




    More →

  • 25 Apr
    Here’s Why You Should Worry About What Happened In The Market Yesterday

    Here’s Why You Should Worry About What Happened In The Market Yesterday

    The thing with the stock market is that it gives you signals way ahead of time, but nobody wants to listen. The things I’ve been blabbering about over the past two years are the following:

    1. Higher interest rates will come just as the FED told us they would.
    2. Higher interest rates will squeeze valuations.
    3. Higher interest rates will slow down economic growth.
    4. Higher interest rates will slow down earnings growth.

    So, let’s start by discussing these.



    The 10-Year Treasury Passes 3%

    When the 10-year Treasury was below 3%, nobody seemed to care except a few crazy analysts like this scribe. However, when it crossed 3%, the market suddenly looked at what had been going on for nearly the last two years. More →

  • 13 Mar
    This Might Be The Biggest Risk To The Stock Market

    This Might Be The Biggest Risk To The Stock Market

    • ETFs have grown extremely fast in the last 10 years.
    • This amplifies the risks of the stock market because, since when does the majority know what’s best?
    • There is one small example of what happens when things stop growing.



    Introduction

    I’ll close my series on the risks to the stock market by discussing a risk that few see where the prevailing wisdom in one of investing through passively managed mutual funds and ETFs. This is creating a big risk, even if it doesn’t look like that now. Let me elaborate on that. More →

  • 07 Mar
    Risks Are Piling Up – That’s A Huge Red Flag For Stocks

    Risks Are Piling Up – That’s A Huge Red Flag For Stocks

    Last week I discussed how the risk are piling up on the debt side of the equation. However, those aren’t the only risks piling up which isn’t uncommon for humans. When we stray, we usually stray in a big way.

    So, on top of the debt, there are other huge risks and today the discussion will be about valuations:

    • Debt is being used recklessly.
    • Valuations don’t matter as growth is the key and profitability will come.
    • Book values are so old fashioned.
    • Stocks can only go up and corrections and bear markets don’t last long.
    • Real estate can only go up.
    • If you invest in index funds, you will do well.



    Now, I’ll discuss a lot of macro, and even some politics on Monday, but such factors might be insignificant or very significant depending on market valuations. High market valuations make stocks fragile, while low valuations make them more robust as once stocks are low, there is little room to go lower. However, when stocks are high, a lot of bad things can happen. The sad thing is that we have been there and we are doing the same mistakes all over again.  More →

  • 20 Dec
    This Is How You Should Look At Risk

    This Is How You Should Look At Risk

    • Something that has just increased in price isn’t considered risky, but something that decreases is.
    • Further, something that isn’t volatile is also not considered risky.
    • I’ll discuss perhaps the most important currently overlooked factor in investing, risk.



    Introduction

    A recent Wall Stree Journal article discussed how 2017 was a bad year for Chinese IPOs.

    On aggregate, China’s 2017 IPOs created a negative 5.7% return and more than half of them produced negative returns of over 10% where 10 of the 16 stocks still trade below IPO prices. More →

    By Sven Carlin Investiv Daily Risk S&P 500
1 2 3 4 5