In a recent post, I wrote that I was watching the relative performance of cyclical stocks against the market for rising expectations that economic growth was about to accelerate (see The bearish verdict from market cycle analysis). I stated that cyclical stocks looked a little wobbly but the relative uptrend was (sort of) still intact. Under those circumstances, the reasonable thing to do is to give the bull case the benefit of the doubt.
After the close on Tuesday, I reviewed the chart of the relative performance of the Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index (CYC) against the SPX and found that CYC had broken down out of its relative uptrend that stretches back almost two years (solid line). Any way you look at it, it had also broken down out of a short-term relative uptrend (dotted line).
Recently, Business Insider highlighted analysis from Citi credit analyst Matt King showing the negative divergence between stock prices and estimate revisions, or the momentum of changes in fundamentals.
Sometimes these kinds of disconnects have a way of not mattering to the market until it matters. Could the technical relative breakdown in cyclical stocks indicate that it's starting to matter? If so, could such a change in market psychology be one of the triggers for a market correction?
Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. ("Qwest"). The opinions and any recommendations expressed in the blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions and recommendations of Qwest. Qwest reviews Mr. Hui's blog to ensure it is connected with Mr. Hui's obligation to deal fairly, honestly and in good faith with the blog's readers."
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