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The Message From The Models: The Bulls Are In Charge, But.

Summary

There can be little argument that the bulls are large and in charge.

The trend and momentum indicators are strongĀ  fundamental factors look good.

However, both the "early warning" and "big-picture" indicators continue to give me pause.

It was a busy weekend of birthday celebrations (we had 2) and important family events in my household (our youngest is moving into her first apartment!) and as such, I didn't take the opportunity to spend a couple hours of quality time at the keyboard.

While I've got a good start on a missive entitled "Twelve Charts Tell The Story," this piece will have to wait, as there just wasn't time to do the idea justice. Hopefully I'll be able to knock the remainder out by mid-week.

So, to start the week, I'll let the indicator boards do the majority of the talking. In short, while the trend and momentum indicators continue to sport an awful lot of green and the Fundamental Factors remain constructive, the Early Warning and "Primary Cycle" boards both continue to give me pause.

In a perfect world, with stocks overbought and sentiment becoming extreme, the market would pull back a bit to relieve some of the extreme overbought/sentiment conditions and provide an entry point for those under-invested folks who were silly enough to think that a big decline in the stock market might be meaningful. I know, I know, such thoughts are sheer folly, right!

But so far at least, the bulls have not been accommodative and all dips - which have largely been limited to intraday affairs - have been bought on a consistent basis this year. However, with the S&P currently sitting at an important technical juncture and the table "set" for at least some sort of pause/pullback, it will be interesting to see if the bears can get up off the mat and get something going - if even for a few days.

But for now, let's dispense with the objective musings and get to the indicators and market models.

The State of the Big-Picture Market Models

I like to start each week with a review of the state of my favorite big-picture market models, which are designed to help me determine which team is in control of the primary trend.

View My Favorite Market Models Online

The Bottom Line:

  • While the "Primary Cycle" board continues to give me pause, at least there is some improvement to report this week. The Global Risk Model upticked in a meaningful way to a reading of 50% (from 15.5%), putting the model into the neutral zone. I find this meaningful due to the fact that the global markets entered a bearish environment early last year - well ahead of the U.S. So, the fact that the tide appears to be turning (likely on the hopes that a trade deal will spur future growth), means the potential for further upside in the U.S. is improving. Now if we could just get some of my favorite big-picture models to perk up, we'd be cookin'!This week's mean percentage score of my 6 favorite models improved to 45.4% from 40.3% last week (2 weeks ago: 44.2%, 3 weeks ago: 48.9%, 4 weeks ago: 48.9%) while the median upticked again to 46.3% from 42.5% last week (2 weeks ago: 40%, 3 weeks ago: 46.7%, 4 weeks ago: 46.7%).

The State of the Trend

Once I've reviewed the big picture, I then turn to the "state of the trend." These indicators are designed to give us a feel for the overall health of the current short- and intermediate-term trend models.

View Trend Indicator Board Online

The Bottom Line:

  • With all but one of the Trend board indicators sporting a green hue, it appears that the "trend is your friend." Two other points here. First, the S&P 500 appears to be struggling with, or at the very least, pausing at a key resistance zone that everyone on the planet is aware of. Second, we are quickly approaching the average length of time that "bounces" from waterfall declines last. As such, the near-term price action takes on added importance. A break above 2815 would embolden the bulls and argue for new highs whereas a failure at resistance would likely usher in an overdue pause in the rally.

The State of Internal Momentum

Next up are the momentum indicators, which are designed to tell us whether there is any "oomph" behind the current trend.

View Momentum Indicator Board Online

The Bottom Line:

  • The dominant color of the Momentum board remains green. However, a small degree of weakness can be seen creeping in. For example, the I.T. Breadth Model downticked just enough to fall from an outright positive reading and our I.T. Volume Thrust indicators pulled back into the neutral zone. However, neither is enough to change the view that momentum remains strong and a buy-the-dip approach remains appropriate (assuming there will be a dip at some point - ha!).

The State of the "Trade"

We also focus each week on the "early warning" board, which is designed to indicate when traders might start to "go the other way" -- for a trade.

View Early Warning Indicator Board Online

The Bottom Line:

  • The Early Warning board continues to suggest that the potential for either a counter-trend move or an outright trend reversal is high. While our overbought/sold indicators show that the table is set for the bears, I also note that the longer-term sentiment indicators are not at extreme readings. So, given that the trend and momentum boards are positive, one can argue that any decline in the near-term would likely be short and shallow.

The State of the Macro Picture

Now let's move on to the market's fundamental factors - the indicators designed to tell us the state of the big-picture market drivers including monetary conditions, the economy, inflation, and valuations.

View Fundamental Indicator Board Online

The Bottom Line:

  • While the Fundamental Factors board suggests the backdrop for equities remains constructive, it is worth noting that some of our economic models have slipped recently. For example, our model designed to predict economic growth fell into the "moderate growth" mode and our model using the index of Coincident Economic Indicators produced a sell signal. So, while the bulls should be given the benefit of any doubt from near-term perspective, we need to recognize that the #GrowthSlowing theme is real.

Thought For The Day:

The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction. - Plato

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. MoenningFounder, Chief Investment OfficerHeritage Capital ResearchHCR Focuses on a Risk-Managed Approach to InvestingWhat Risk Management Can and Cannot Do


HCR Awarded Top Honors in 2018 NAAIM Shark Tank Portfolio Strategy Competition

Each year, NAAIM (National Association of Active Investment Managers) hosts a competition to identify the best actively managed investment strategies. In April, HCR's Dave Moenning took home first place for his flagship risk management strategy.

PRESS RELEASE


Disclosures

At the time of publication, Mr. Moenning held long positions in the following securities mentioned: None - Note that positions may change at any time.

Leading Indicators Model: A group of indicators that have historically shown tendencies to lead the market at major turning points.

The State of the Market Model: Designed to provide a composite reading for the technical health of the broad equity market. A diffusion indicator based on the status of more than 100 component indicators.

Risk/Reward Model: A model-of-models intended to provide an overall view of the state of the risk/reward environment. The model includes tape, monetary, and sentiment indicators as well as 7 big-picture market model readings.

Desert Island Model: If I was stranded on a desert island with access to only one market model to manage money with, this would be the model. The model is a comprehensive model-of-models comprised of trend, momentum, mean reversion, economic, monetary, sentiment, and factor-based indicators/models.

External Factors Model: A model-of-models designed to provide a reading on the "macro state" of the market environment. The model is comprised of indicators/models in the areas of various index yields, industrial production, investors sentiment, and historic volatility.

Short-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates NDR's All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Channel Breakout System Explained: The short-term and intermediate-term Channel Breakout Systems are modified versions of the Donchian Channel indicator. According to Wikipedia, "The Donchian channel is an indicator used in market trading developed by Richard Donchian. It is formed by taking the highest high and the lowest low of the last n periods. The area between the high and the low is the channel for the period chosen."

Intermediate-Term Trend-and-Breadth Signal Explained: This indicator incorporates NDR's All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 45-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 45-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +17.6% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +6.5% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost -1.3% per year.

Cycle Composite Projections: The cycle composite combines the 1-year Seasonal, 4-year Presidential, and 10-year Decennial cycles. The indicator reading shown uses the cycle projection for the upcoming week.

Trading Mode Indicator: This indicator attempts to identify whether the current trading environment is "trending" or "mean reverting." The indicator takes the composite reading of the Efficiency Ratio, the Average Correlation Coefficient, and Trend Strength models.

Volume Relationship Models: These models review the relationship between "supply" and "demand" volume over the short- and intermediate-term time frames.

Price Thrust Model Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line's 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a "thrust" occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -13.29% per year.

Breadth Thrust Model Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Short-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is the current reading of the 14,1,3 stochastic oscillator. When the oscillator is above 80 and the %K is above the %D, the indicator gives an overbought reading. Conversely, when the oscillator is below 20 and %K is below its %D, the indicator is oversold.

Intermediate-Term Overbought/sold Indicator: This indicator is a 40-day RSI reading. When above 57.5, the indicator is considered overbought and wnen below 45 it is oversold.

Mean Reversion Model: This is a diffusion model consisting of five indicators that can produce buy and sell signals based on overbought/sold conditions.

VIX Indicator: This indicators looks at the current reading of the VIX relative to standard deviation bands. When the indicator reaches an extreme reading in either direction, it is an indication that a market trend could reverse in the near-term.

Short-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 18 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a short-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market's best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Intermediate-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 7 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a intrmediate-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market's best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Long-Term Sentiment Indicator: This is a model-of-models composed of 6 independent sentiment indicators designed to indicate when market sentiment has reached an extreme from a long-term perspective. Historical analysis indicates that the stock market's best gains come after an environment has become extremely negative from a sentiment standpoint. Conversely, when sentiment becomes extremely positive, market returns have been subpar.

Absolute Monetary Model Explained: The popular cliche, "Don't fight the Fed" is really a testament to the profound impact that interest rates and Fed policy have on the market. It is a proven fact that monetary conditions are one of the most powerful influences on the direction of stock prices. The Absolute Monetary Model looks at the current level of interest rates relative to historical levels and Fed policy.

Relative Monetary Model Explained: The "relative" monetary model looks at monetary indicators relative to recent levels as well as rates of change and Fed Policy.

Economic Model Explained: During the middle of bull and bear markets, understanding the overall health of the economy and how it impacts the stock market is one of the few truly logical aspects of the stock market. When our Economic model sports a "positive" reading, history (beginning in 1965) shows that stocks enjoy returns in excess of 21% per year. Yet, when the model's reading falls into the "negative" zone, the S&P has lost nearly -25% per year. However, it is vital to understand that there are times when good economic news is actually bad for stocks and vice versa. Thus, the Economic model can help investors stay in tune with where we are in the overall economic cycle.

Inflation Model Explained: They say that "the tape tells all." However, one of the best "big picture" indicators of what the market is expected to do next is inflation. Simply put, since 1962, when the model indicates that inflationary pressures are strong, stocks have lost ground. Yet, when inflationary pressures are low, the S&P 500 has gained ground at a rate in excess of 13%. The bottom line is inflation is one of the primary drivers of stock market returns.

Valuation Model Explained: If you want to get analysts really riled up, you need only to begin a discussion of market valuation. While the question of whether stocks are overvalued or undervalued appears to be a simple one, the subject is actually extremely complex. To simplify the subject dramatically, investors must first determine if they should focus on relative valuation (which include the current level of interest rates) or absolute valuation measures (the more traditional readings of Price/Earnings, Price/Dividend, and Price/Book Value). We believe that it is important to recognize that environments change. And as such, the market's focus and corresponding view of valuations are likely to change as well. Thus, we depend on our Valuation Models to help us keep our eye on the ball.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning's opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

Mr. Moenning may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Positions may change at any time.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.

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