Utilities have been taking a beating lately, being the worst performer of the S&P sectors over the last 6 months, down 1.59% while the S&P 500 is up over 7%.
These types of drops make for some interesting chart setups. Below we have a chart of the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLU). On the top panel I've put the Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) which we can see had fallen to under 30, a sign that selling momentum has been extremely heavy.
On the bottom panel we can take a look at one of my favorite indicators, the Money Flow Index (MFI), which takes into account both price and volume in the form of an oscillator. Over the past 3 months we have seen three divergences take shape in the MFI. First we saw Money Flow diverge as price made lower lows, a sign that sellers could be losing their momentum to drive the ETF lower. We then saw a similar divergence in October but this time MFI was unable to hit new highs alongside price, which was followed by XLU dropping 10%.
Now we are seeing another bullish divergence take place like what we saw in September. First the MFI became "oversold" as it broke below 20 and then began to rise while price continued to be depressed. One of the differences between now and September is we did not see momentum (via the Relative Strength Index) at such low levels.
I'll be watching to see if this divergence continues to play out or if price begins to advance to potentially its 200-day moving average. Traders have not been a fan of XLU lately, time will tell if sentiment towards this ETF shifts.
Disclosure: I am long XLU. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
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