An Update on the Hindenburg Omen of August 2010

By: Robert McHugh | Sun, Aug 29, 2010
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You are not going to believe this, but on Friday, August 27th, we got both a fifth official Hindenburg Omen observation and a 90 percent up day. Completely bizarre combination, which is the point. It is this sort of confrontational confusion inside markets which is the basis and background for all of the stock market crashes over the past 25 years. This does not mean we are definitely going to get a stock market crash, but it does mean the odds of getting one are far greater than the normal less than one-tenth of one percent on any given day. Because this set-up is rare, only 27 such set-ups over the past 25 years, it throws the market into a unique and infrequent population of only 27 occurrences, and within that unique 27 occurrence set-ups, we have seen a market rattling stock market crash 8 times, or 30 percent of the time this unique set-up occurred. The time span for this set-up is 120 days, 120 days of high risk. The market lacks uniformity, lacks certainty, lacks its normal stability. There were no instances over the past 25 years when a stock market crash occurred without an official Hindenburg Omen being on the clock. We now have a five observation Hindenburg Omen cluster.

First, let's give the details on the latest and fifth Hindenburg Omen, which ironically arrives on a day when the Industrials rose 165 points, not the sort of day one would expect to see a Hindenburg Omen observation. There were 141 New NYSE 52 Week Highs (and by the way, coming on a day when U.S. Bonds tanked), with 74 New NYSE lows. The lower of the two came in at 2.36 percent of total NYSE issues traded Friday, which was 3,140. New Highs were not more than twice New Lows, the McClellan Oscillator was negative (-48.34), and the 10 Week Moving Average was Rising.

As for the 90 percent panic buying up day Friday, there is an amazing phenomenon going on since the April 26th, 2010 top. We have now had twelve 90 percent panic buying up days and thirteen 90 percent panic selling down days since that top. That is, 25 out of the past 87 trading days have been panic trading days, with an approximate equal number of up versus down. This is astonishing.

What does this mean? Pretty much the same thing as the confirmed and official Hindenburg Omen observation means, that the market lacks uniformity, that the market is in an unstable condition, and it is at these times that markets are especially vulnerable to a stock market crash. Again, this does not guarantee a crash, as the odds are only about 30 percent, but compared to the normal less than one-tenth of one percent probability for a crash on any given day, that is an astronomical increase in the odds for a crash. A 90 percent up day occurs when both up points and up volume are above 90 percent of total volume, with the converse being true for 90 percent down days. These are usually rare, but the incidences since April 26th, 2010 have been anything but rare. We get one on average every fourth trading day.

That said, if you are a high stakes gambler, there is a 70 percent chance we will not see a full-blown crash over the next three and a half months (120 days from the first observation, August 12th, 2010). But there are higher odds that a large and significant decline could come over this period, even if it falls short of a crash. The odds of a decline of 10 percent or more are 40.8 percent; the odds of a decline 8 percent or greater are 55.6 percent; and the odds of a decline greater than 5 percent are 77.8 percent -- pretty high. Since August 12th, 2010, the date of the first observation, the Industrials have fallen 3.7 percent, and since the second and cluster-confirming observation on August 20th, the Industrials have fallen 2.7 percent. But there is a long way to go before the threat period ends.

On page 16 and 17 in this Weekend's Expanded Market Report we show that the large Head & Shoulders top patterns from November 2009 have now completed in the S&P 500 and NDX, prices having fallen to the necklines. This increases the odds that a stock market crash is slowly developing and will have an acceleration point over the next several months. Why? Because to reach the downside price targets would require a decline greater than 15 percent, actually greater than 20 percent from the top of the right shoulders.

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shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
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For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds
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John 6: 35, 38, 40



Robert McHugh

Author: Robert McHugh

Robert D. McHugh, Jr. Ph.D.
Main Line Investors, Inc.

Robert McHugh

Robert McHugh Ph.D. is President and CEO of Main Line Investors, Inc., a registered investment advisor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and can be reached at The statements, opinions and analyses presented in this newsletter are provided as a general information and education service only. Opinions, estimates and probabilities expressed herein constitute the judgment of the author as of the date indicated and are subject to change without notice. Nothing contained in this newsletter is intended to be, nor shall it be construed as, investment advice, nor is it to be relied upon in making any investment or other decision. Prior to making any investment decision, you are advised to consult with your broker, investment advisor or other appropriate tax or financial professional to determine the suitability of any investment. Neither Main Line Investors, Inc. nor Robert D. McHugh, Jr., Ph.D. Editor shall be responsible or have any liability for investment decisions based upon, or the results obtained from, the information provided.

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