Financial Markets Forecast and Analysis
Summary of Index Daily Closings for Week Ending November 12, 2004
|Date||DJIA||Transports||S&P||NASDAQ||Jun 30 Yr Treas
|Nov 11||10469.84||3623.30||1173.48||2061.27||Market Closed|
|SHORT TERM FORECAST
(Next Two Weeks)
|Market Rise||Medium||Very High||80%|
|Very Low Under||20%|
|INTERMEDIATE TERM FORECAST
(Next 12 Weeks)
|TREND||PROBABILITY||Substantial||800 points+ (DJIA)|
|Substantial Rise||Low||Market Move||200 to 800 points (DJIA)|
|Market Rise||Medium||Sideways||Up or Down 200 (DJIA)|
This week the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 151.47 points, in line with the direction of last week's Short-term TII reading of positive 5.50, but a bit stronger than anticipated. Volume is good, as is breadth. Sentiment is extremely Bullish, indicative of that seen at major tops. This top could be over as soon as next week, or could extend another few months, depending upon the degree of the move we've seen since October 25th. In other words, this rally could be wave i of 5, or could be all five waves of a final primary degree (2) top.
Price earnings ratios never reached the below 10x levels seen at long-lasting Bear market bottoms of the past. Massive liquidity infusions, fiscal deficits, and wartime spending have fueled a rally since 2002. But in doing so, fundamentals are a wreck, and we will have to pay the price. There are a number of indicators that warn a primary degree Elliott Wave (2) top is close. Let's take a look.
Coming Soon, in 2005, "Trader's Corner," a special feature for traders.
|Equities Markets Technical Indicator Index (TII) ™|
|Week Ended||Short Term Index||Intermediate Term Index|
|July 16, 2004||(33.75)||(41.99)||Scale|
|July 23, 2004||(59.00)||(49.98)|
|July 30, 2004||46.25||(52.18)||(100) to +100|
|Aug 6, 2004||(38.00)||(50.40)|
|Aug 13, 2004||(15.75)||(49.03)||(Negative) Bearish|
|Aug 20, 2004||9.25||(43.82)||Positive Bullish|
|Aug 27, 2004||9.25||(39.81)|
|Sep 3, 2004||(39.25)||(40.06)|
|Sep 10, 2004||(49.25)||(45.78)|
|Sep 17, 2004||(69.00)||(44.73)|
|Sep 24, 2004||(52.25)||(42.02)|
|Oct 1, 2004||25.50||(37.23)|
|Oct 8, 2004||(58.50)||(35.56)|
|Oct 15, 2004||(24.50)||(35.48)|
|Oct 22, 2004||(15.00)||(36.93)|
|Oct 29, 2004||39.50||(40.06)|
|Nov 5, 2004||5.50||(35.28)|
|Nov 12, 2004||(6.50)||(27.63)|
This week the Short-term Technical Indicator Index comes in at negative (6.50), indicating a sideways to slightly down move is probable. This indicator is a useful predictor of equity market moves over the next two weeks, both as to direction and to a lesser extent strength of move. For example, readings near zero indicate narrow sideways moves are probable. Readings closer to +/-100 indicate with a higher degree of confidence that an impulsive move up or down is likely over the short run. Market conditions can change on a dime, or the Plunge Protection Team can come in and temporarily stop market slides, so it may be unwise to trade off this weekly measured indicator.
The Intermediate-term Technical Indicator Index is useful for monitoring what's over the horizon - over the next twelve weeks. It serves as an early warning system for unforeseen trend changes of considerable magnitude. This week the Intermediate-term TII comes in at negative (27.63).
The chart on the next page identifies what we call Fibonacci phi turn dates for 2004 based upon the two dates that have a .618 and .382 ratio relationship to the total number of trading days from January 14th, 2000 - the start of the Bear Market for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since 1/14/2000, every single significant secondary trend top or bottom has occurred at either a .618 or .382 number of trading days from another top or bottom. Since we picked up on this astonishing trend, we've been able to accurately forecast tops and bottoms (+/- 1 day or two) during 2004. While this forecasting approach will likely come to an end at some point, we will continue to monitor it until it does.
The next forecasted Fibonacci phi turn date is scheduled for November 17th, 2004 - next Wednesday. November 17th is 1,218 trading days from January 14th, 2000. It is a phi mate of the January 14th, 2003 top which occurred precisely 753 trading days from 1/14/2000 and .618 of the number of trading days from 1/14/2000 to 11/17/2004. The number of trading days from 1/14/2003 to 11/17/2004 would be 465 trading days - or .382 of the total trading days from 1/14/2000 to 11/17/2004. Also, November 18th works out to a perfect .618/.382 ratio as well. It is likely going to be a top.
Analogs capture the mass investor psychology of comparable periods, and identify likely periods of fear and greed that translate into market tops and bottoms, including strength of moves. They basically argue that history repeats itself and investors are likely to respond in mirrored fashion during similar secular Bull/Bear periods. We believe equities have been in a secular (very long term) Bear market since early 2000. As such, we have compared the 2000 to 2004 secular Bear market with the Nikkei's secular Bear market from 1996 through 2004 and again with the average of the only other two secular Bear Markets of the past century, the average of from 1929 to 1936 and from 1968 to 1975.
Even with the recent rally, the Dow Industrials price action fits the price action of these three analogous periods. What is of particular note is the timing of tops and bottoms - they are in amazing synchrony. Both analogs are calling for a significant top over the next week. This fits our Fibonacci phi turn date work and many other technical indicators which we will demonstrate in short order.
The next chart (courtesy of www.stockcharts.com) shows the Ratio of the Dow Jones Industrial Average vs. the 30 Year U.S. Treasury over the past 2 years. This ratio now stands at 93.56x and has traced out a textbook perfect Head & Shoulders Top pattern. This pattern is right out of Technical Analysis 101. Perfect. Further, the pattern has been confirmed with a break below the neckline, increasing the probability that the downside target will be met. That minimum downside target level is 72x.
Here's the bad news: There is no resolution to this pattern that is positive for the economy. None. This pattern is saying that once it declines below 87x - the neckline - then the downside target is 72x. What does this mean? Well, let's first analyze what are the possible price scenarios for the DJIA and the $USB that would result in a reduction in this ratio to 72x. Scenario A - The DJIA declines faster than Bonds decline. Scenario B - The DJIA declines and Bonds remain flat. Scenario C - The DJIA declines and Bonds rise. Scenario D - The DJIA rises, but slower than Bonds rise.
Scenario D is highly unlikely. Why? Because for Bonds to rise sharply from here would imply an economic slowdown which would virtually assure a sharp drop in equities - equities are not going to rise in a recession. So let's eliminate scenario D. That leaves us with 3 scenarios - all of which require equities to fall. So the next question is, if the DJIA is about to fall, how much of a fall are we talking about to achieve this 72x ratio? There are an infinite number of possibilities, but for the sake of getting us into the ballpark, we'll cover a likely mathematical example for each of Scenarios A, B, and C.
First, lets get to our starting point. At the time this chart is prepared, the DJIA sits at 10,533 and the 30 Year Treasury sits at 112^18+.
For Scenario A to fit, if Bonds fell 5 points to 107.58, then it would require the DJIA to decline to 7,761 - a crash of 26 percent! If we put a more aggressive decline on the Bonds, to 100 (basically a collapse in bonds and a painful rise in long-term interest rates), then the DJIA mathematically would have to decline 3,333 points - for a more severe crash of 31 percent!
For Scenario C to fit our downside ratio target of 72x, if Bonds rise 5 points to 117.58, the DJIA would still have to decline to 8,465.76, a drop of 2,067 points or 19 percent - another crash!
For the DJIA to not decline, and the 72x ratio target to be met, Bonds would have to rise to 146. Not going to happen. Again, any sharp rise in Bonds from current levels (to above 120) portends recession or depression, in which case one would have to be delusional on the level of a scrambled eggbeater to believe equities would rise. That does not necessarily rule out everyone giving out financial advice.
There is only one saving scenario to avoid a stock market crash over the next 6 months or so, and that is if this $DJIA/$USB ratio Head & Shoulders Top pattern fails. That would require the ratio to rise above 102x, which would require the DJIA to rise to 11,483 while Bonds remained flat (more than likely Bonds would not remain flat, but instead would decline if the DJIA tried to rise there, impeding the DJIA's efforts to rise there as rising interest rates stalled the economy).
More bad news: The $NDX/$USB Ratio and the $SPX/$USB Ratio also sports the same Bearish Head & Shoulders Tops. We presented those analyses in this week's Mid-week, issue no. 98, November 10th, 2004 at www.technicalindicatorindex.com.
The next chart we want to look at, below, is the SPX to VIX Ratio as of November 12th, 2004. This week this ratio hit a peak of 89.99 on Thursday and concludes the week at 88.83. These are two of the highest (most Bearish) readings since 1998. Only in the spring of 2000 did it reach higher levels, and that marked a primary degree top, the start of a four year Bear market and a slide that took out over 40 percent of the S&P 500. There has been a lot written about this ratio lately, and some analysts have tried to dismiss its significance. Well, dear friends, ignore this ratio at your own peril. Look, the correlation is nearly perfect. So if you want to dismiss it as random coincidence, fine. I won't. When the SPX/VIX ratio rises above 68.00, the market is topping. Period. When the ratio falls below 35.00, the market is bottoming. Period. The deception may be that folks are impatient. But look at the chart. 2000's Grand Top was preceded by above 68.00 readings for over a year. In other words, this ratio was kind enough to give a year's advanced warning of a massive Bear market decline. That is precisely what it is doing again. We are getting a one-year advanced warning of another massive decline. The warning period is about the same as it was in 1999 through early 2000. If history repeats itself, that means another massive decline is coming soon. What could this massive decline be? I believe it will be primary degree Elliott Wave (3) down.
The above chart is another chart that measures confidence. Tops always occur at extreme levels of Bullishness. Both the SPX/VIX ratio and the 10 Day Average Call/Put ratio are contrary indicators. For the 10 Day Average Call/Put ratio, readings above 1.40 indicate equity market tops and readings below 1.00 indicate equity market bottoms. The 10 Day Average Call/Put ratio is approaching, but not quite yet at, an extreme - and therefore Bearish - top signal reading of 1.33. But the trend is Bearish as the average for the past six days comes in at 1.43. A few more days of rally leading into our Fibonacci turn date next Wednesday or Thursday should trigger a sell signal. We will alert you in next week's Midweek report should we get a sell signal by then.
The powerful rally since October 25th, 2004 busted above the preceding high for the move up since October 2002 - above February 2004's top - signaling that the gentle sloping decline since 2/17/04 was merely a minor degree wave 4 correction inside an intermediate degree wave C of primary degree (2) up. Minuette degree waves i, ii, and iii appear complete with waves iv and v remaining. That should conclude perhaps by Wednesday or Thursday next week. From there we should expect a decline. This much is pretty clear. What isn't so clear is whether the move up from 10/25/04 to next week's top is in fact the end of minor degree wave 5 of C of (2), or whether the rally from 10/25 is of one degree lesser than suggested here - is really a micro degree five-wave rally of minuette degree wave i of minor degree wave 5. If the latter is the case, then minor degree wave 5 should be impressive, lasting two to three months and rising to perhaps 1,386 - the .786 retrace of primary degree wave (1) down. The depth of the next decline will give us this answer. Should prices break below 8/13/04's low - below 1,060.72 - then we can be confident primary degree wave (3), a precipitous " crash" decline is underway. Should prices fail to break below that level, it would mean the decline was merely minuette degree wave ii down of a five-wave rally minor degree wave 5 of intermediate degree C. It would be a nice intermediate degree rally, however the last hurrah, a final euphoric burst before the great decline. Such a rally would lure the innocent in just as the Bear is about to strike with full vengeance.
The S&P 500 patterns in play right now are a Bullish Head & Shoulders bottom that is confirmed, projecting a minimum upside target of 1,220ish. However, that pattern would be subordinate to a larger degree Bearish Broadening Top "Megaphone" pattern that is of high reliability, signaling a major top is no more than a few months away - perhaps sooner.
This week the Dow Industrials followed the lead of the S&P 500, signaling that it is not in a primary degree wave (3) down, but rather is still finishing up primary degree wave (2) up. We know this because the rally since October 25th has now broken decisively above the upper boundary of the downward sloping trend-channel from February 2004 through October 2004. That downward move has a gentle slope (almost sideways appearance) and traced out a double zigzag (altering from minor degree wave 2's flat), retracing close to 61.8 percent of minor degree wave 3 up of intermediate degree C up. The rally since October 25th has completed four of five waves of an impulse wave. This impulse should complete by mid-week around our phi turn date.
The larger question is, does this constitute the complete minor degree wave 5 up, implying that we are at a major primary degree (2) top? Or, is this merely the completion of minuette degree wave i of minor degree wave 5, implying that after a shallow correction - minuette degree wave ii - we should expect a sharp two month rally that would end primary degree wave (2) at much higher prices? The next decline will tell us the answer. Should prices drop below their October 25th 9,708 low, then primary degree wave (3) - a crash scenario - is underway. Failure to reach a lower low would imply a strong multi-month rise.
Trannies keep defying gravity, and are now in a full-fledged Parabolic Spike. That means that whenever they decide to top, we can expect a sharp decline of similar angle and depth as the rise, i.e., a crash. Both the RSI and MACD are overbought. Trannies have traced out two Rising Bearish Wedge patterns of differing degrees, both termination patterns. They remain 205 points (5.3 percent) below their all-time high back in May 1999 of 3,833. The Elliott Wave count confirms the patterns - Trannies are near a significant top.
The Commerce Department reported that Retail Sales were up 0.2 percent in October, far less than the 1.6 percent increase in September. Autos were a drag. Reuters reported on www.cnnmoney.com that Redbook Research announced U.S. Chain Store Sales were up 3.6 percent on a year over year basis through November 6th. Wholesale Inventories rose 0.5 percent in September. That could either be a sign of slowing sales vs. business expectations or stocking up for expected stronger sales. Take your pick.
The U.S. Trade Deficit came in at 51.6 billion for the month of September, the third worst on record. This happened in spite of a falling dollar which theoretically should help exports. This is a problem.
The Federal Reserve announced that they increased short-term interest rates another quarter of a percent to 2.0 percent. While still low by historical standards, it represents a 14 percent increase in interest-only home equity payments for debt-laden consumers next month, which will not be helpful for consumer spending which accounts for 70 percent of GDP. When the Fed raises interest rates in a series of moves, it inevitably slows the economy. That's what we are facing ahead.
Jobless Claims increased to 333,000 according to the Labor Department for the week ended November 6th. 2.8 million good folks are collecting checks at this time. Millions more are unemployed but their benefits have run out. This is a problem.
Money Supply, the Dollar, & Gold:
M-3 remains about where it was in August, and is 16.0 billion lower than it was in September. Periods of flat to declining M-3 are supportive of significant equity market declines.
The U.S. Trade-Weighted Dollar remains on its track for a primary degree Elliott Wave (1) bottom. It is in the latter stages of this quest, finishing off an intermediate degree wave 5 down of (1) down. Inside that wave, the Dollar has completed minuette degrees i through iv, and is wrapping up v of minor degree 3. There should be a bit more decline followed by a small minor degree wave 4 rise and then one final descent to a bottom - minor degree 5 of intermediate degree 5 of Primary degree (1).
The entire decline to the primary degree (1) should hit at least 82 - perhaps lower. We know this from the Head & Shoulders Top pattern formed by intermediate degree Elliott Waves 4 and the first half of 5. This pattern is confirmed by the decisive break below the neckline - below 87 - which increases the probability of the minimum downside target of 82 being reached. Prices remain inside the long-term downtrend.
After a bottom is reached, look for a pretty strong A-B-C rally inside primary degree wave (2) that retraces a Fibonacci percent of primary (1) down's carnage - either .382, .500, .618, 0r .786. It is a rally that could consume a huge chunk of 2005.
Gold had an upside breakout this week of major significance. It not only hit its highest level since 1988, but broke above significant resistance, negating a Bearish Triple Top. Gold closed at 438.8 on Friday, a new top for the long-term uptrend. Double and Triple Tops must be respected - for they often represent impressive resistance - but are not as reliable as some patterns such as confirmed Head & Shoulders, Megaphones, Flags, and Parabolic Spikes to name a few. William Peter Hamilton, the great Dow Theorist, warned decades ago not to put too much wait on Double Tops and Bottoms.
The Ascending Bullish Triangle pattern we showed last week won the battle with the Bearish Triple Top, and implies an upside target for Gold of close to 500. That is arrived at by taking the distance of the widest part of the triangle and adding it to the spot of the breakout. The only blemishes on this face are an annoying Rising Bearish Wedge of small degree, the overbought reading of the RSI, and the waning upward momentum of the MACD. What they could be spelling is a minor correction is approaching, but that soon thereafter will be a resumption of the long-term Bull. Prices also broke to the upside above the small rising trend-channel - Bullish.
The chart below (courtesy of www.stockcharts.com) identifies a peculiarity in the markets at this time. It is rare for stocks and equities to both be rising or falling together. Times where they are moving in the same direction to similar degrees are depicted by horizontal movements in this chart. You can see that doesn't happen very often. The zigzag movements are the norm and imply there is an inverse price relationship between Gold and the DJIA.
The point is, soon, either Gold is going to decline or the DJIA is going to decline.
The HUI is in a long-term Bullish trend. The question is, where does it stand in the intermediate trend? The Elliott Wave count is ambiguous and can be interpreted three different ways. The top count we have labeled above requires prices to decline soon from here - a minor degree B top. A move above 258 would mean one of the two other counts are in play. If the above count is correct, wave C down of corrective wave 2 down would likely take prices to a .786 retrace of Intermediate degree wave 1 up - to 138ish.
Should prices move decisively higher, a second possibility is that where we have labeled Minor degree wave A would in reality be Minor degree wave 4 of the rally from October 2002. That would mean we are rallying inside Minor degree wave 5 up, completing Intermediate 1 up. That would likely complete over the next two months, to be followed by a huge decline - corrective Intermediate degree wave 2 down, lasting half of 2005. A third possibility is that should prices rise decisively from here, corrective Intermediate degree wave 2 completed where we labeled wave A down, and we are off to the races for a wondrous Intermediate degree wave 3 up to the stratosphere. Given the overbought conditions, this is the least likely scenario in our view. The RSI has formed a Bearish Head & Shoulders top pattern, as has the MACD.
30 Year U.S. Treasury prices remain down from a Double Top pattern, in line with what the Bearish Head & Shoulders Top pattern suggests, and in accordance with the Elliott Wave count we believe to be most accurate at this time. The H&S pattern will confirm once prices drop decisively below the neckline, below 101.5. In that case, the minimum downside target would be the low 80s.
The Right Shoulder looks complete, with minor degree wave 2 wrapping up a Fibonacci .786 retrace of Minor degree wave 1 - a common retrace point for wave 2s. Both the RSI and the MACD have formed Rounded Bearish Top formations and are headed lower.
Bonds are one of the key problems for the Equity Secular or Intermediate-term Bull Market argument at this time. Bonds are at risk of decline just as equities try to fly, and ensuing rising interest rates will snuff out the fundamental earnings and spending necessary to fuel higher PEs. Bonds are a governor over equity irrational exuberance. The twin deficits will keep pressure on the Dollar and that will also tend to push Bonds lower, keeping a lid on equities.
Should equities fall sharply, we would expect an initial flight to quality, pushing Bond prices higher. But in that event, the Master Planners would no doubt flood markets with liquidity, and Bonds would fall.
Bottom Line: Equities want to rise and fund managers are forced to chase this rally as the greatest sin they commit is to miss the next great Bull leg. As fund managers put cash to work, liquidity lifts all boats. However, the big picture warns that a grand primary degree top is close at hand. Either as soon as next week - in which case we have a truncated 5th wave of intermediate degree C of primary degree (2) and it's gang way below - or later, after a five-wave impulse runs its course into early 2005. Regardless, equities are set to fall soon to one degree or another. A major economic collapse (at least a recession) will no doubt accompany the next primary degree Bear wave (3) lower as the repercussions of horrid fundamentals finally kick in. High rollers can go long, but conservative wealth preservationists will find more sleep at night not trying to earn every last nickel from a terminating rally. Check your gut and play accordingly. Caution remains warranted.
"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and
the blessing, if you listen to the commandment of the Lord your God,
which I am commanding you today;
and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments
of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way
which I am commanding you today, by
following other gods which you have not known."
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|Key Economic Statistics|
|Date||VIX||Mar. U.S. $||Euro||CRB||Gold||Silver||Crude Oil||1 Week Avg. M-3|
Note: VIX Complacent; Dollar and Oil Down; Euro, Gold, and Silver Up.