Housing Starts and the New Bear Market

 |  Includes: AGG, DIA, SPY
by: Richard Suttmeier

Housing Starts and Building Permits disappoint. Part of my bear market theme is that Federal Reserve policy has failed to help cure the original catalyst that began the bear market of October 2007 to March 2009. Homebuilder stocks peaked in mid-2005, community banks peaked at the end of 2006, and regional banks including those considered "too big to fail" topped out in March 2007. Housing remains depressed, and community banks continue to fail on "Bank Failure Friday!" You would think that the zero to 0.25% federal funds rate in effect since December 16, 2008 would have helped, but it has not. You would think that QE2, which comes to an end on June 30 would have helped, but it has not. Meanwhile the FOMC ignores the rising cost of living on Main Street USA. Ben Bernanke needs to be replaced as Fed Chairman!

Wednesday morning we learned that housing starts and building permits for new home construction posted unexpected declines. Housing Starts plunged 22.5% from January to a seasonally adjusted 479,000 units, the second slowest pace on record. Building Permits fell 8.2% to a record low pace of 517,000. How come the zero percent money from the Fed and QE2 cannot get to the cause of "The Great Credit Crunch," which continues since March 2007?

The New Bear Market – Most of my readers know that I was bearish beginning in March 2007 led by housing and financials. The broader market continued to rally into October 2007. With the Dow above 14,000 I predicted that the next 2000 Dow points would be down, not up. I became a bull on March 5, 2009 for a 40% to 50% bear market rally. Sure I missed some of the rally in 2010, but in September called for Dow 11,235 by election day on the prospect of a Republican victory, and re-iterated that call in early-October in anticipation of QE2. My call for 2011 is that strength would fail below 12,600, and I predicted the top on February 18 at 12,391.29 for both fundamental and technical reasons. We had a ValuEngine Valuation Warning with 68.6% of all stocks overvalued. Today only 49.6% of stocks are overvalued. Today 11 of 16 sectors are overvalued, but just one by double digits. The Dow Industrial Average was extremely overbought on its weekly chart. A close on Friday below 11,856 will pull momentum (12x3x3 weekly slow stochastic) below 8.0, which to me is the confirmation of a cycle high. On February 18 this reading was 9.5. My first downside objective is my annual risky level at 11,491. Given a close in March below 11,491 the downside is to semiannual value levels at 10,959 and 9,449.

10-Year Note – (3.210) This yield declined to 3.139 on a continued flight to quality on Wednesday closing in on the 200-day simple moving average which lines up with my monthly risky level at 3.015 and 3.002. Today’s pivot is 3.264 with weekly value level at 3.634.

Comex Gold – ($1396.7) The 50-day simple moving average is $1379.6 with my annual value level at $1356.5, and my weekly pivot at $1404.1, which was tested on Wednesday. Monthly and quarterly pivots are $1437.7 and $1441.7 with my semiannual risky level is at $1452.6.

Nymex Crude Oil – ($98.28) Held my monthly value level at $96.43 on Wednesday and stayed below my annual pivots at $99.91 and $101.92. My daily pivot is $98.23 with semiannual and quarterly risky levels at $107.14 and $110.87.

The Euro – (1.3890) It appears that my weekly risky level at 1.4089 is a barrier. My quarterly value level is 1.3227 with a daily pivot at 1.3846, and weekly, semiannual and monthly risky levels at 1.4089, 1.4624 and 1.4637.

All daily charts for the major equity averages are negative – The Dow is below 50-day simple moving average at 12,011 with declining daily momentum (12x3x3 daily slow stochastic). There are no oversold measures as yet. Wednesday’s low was 11,555.48.

Click to enlarge

(Click to enlarge) Courtesy of Thomson / Reuters

Key Levels for the Major Equity Averages

  • The Dow Industrial Average (11,613) My annual value level is 11,491 with a daily pivot at 11,746, and weekly and monthly risky levels at 12,400 and 12,741.
  • The S&P 500 (1256.9) My annual value level is 1210.7 with my quarterly pivot at 1262.5, my daily pivot at 1266.3, and weekly and monthly risky levels at 1327.3 and 1381.3. A weekly close below 1284 shifts the weekly chart profile to negative.
  • The NASDAQ (2617) My daily pivot is 2611 with weekly, quarterly and monthly risky levels at 2753, 2853 and 2926. Semiannual and annual value levels are 2363, 2335 and 2172.
  • The NASDAQ 100 (2203) My daily pivot is 2201.8 with weekly, quarterly, and monthly risky levels at 2333, 2438 and 2499. Semiannual value levels are 2006.8 and 1927.6.
  • Dow Transports (4950) My quarterly value level is 4671 with a weekly pivot at 4995, and daily and annual pivots at 5051 and 5179.
  • The Russell 2000 (781.90) My quarterly value level is 765.50 with daily and annual pivots at 778.07 and 784.16, and a weekly pivot at 805.37, and monthly risky level at 850.79. Semiannual value levels are 631.62 and 567.74.
  • The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (412.44) My daily value level is 396.87 with weekly, monthly and quarterly risky levels at 447.74, 453.89 and 465.93. Semiannual and annual value levels are 296.89, 270.98 and 259.30.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.