Monday, September 03, 2007

Stocks Close The Week On A Bullish Note As Volume Is Below Average For The Ninth Day In-A-Row; Enjoy Your Labor Day Monday!!

Once again, it looks like the Fed, this time with GWB, has come to save the day for the stock market, as stocks rallied on the good news that the Fed and GWB are on the path to help distressed home owners with rising mortgage payments that they can not make. While I am okay with helping out the poor homeowners, as long as he does not help out the stupid lenders that practiced this predatory lending, I will happy.

As it was, the markets ended the low-volume holiday spirited week with gains across the board, with the NYSE leading the way with a 1.5% gain. However, that gain came on lower volume, unlike the Nasdaq which saw volume rise, but breadth was 6-to-1 in favor of advancers over decliners. The best index for the week was the IBD 100, gaining 1.4%. So the appetite of the buyers was very healthy, even though NONE of those buyers were “the smart” money. If they were, you would have seen volume over the 50 day volume average. As it was it was just another retail driven pre-holiday rally.

It was, however, despite the low volume, a very important week, with Wednesday signaling a follow-through day to the attempted rally that started on August 16. Even though the rally attempt came on day 10, the volume was well below the 50 day volume average, and there were almost zero stocks with top fundamentals and great chart patterns breaking out of fresh and well formed bases. Overall, we can confidently say that this follow-through was very weak and was very uneventful. That is what normally happens when you get one of these low volume follow-through days before a long holiday weekend in the summer.

The thing you have to remember is that despite the follow-through happening on low volume, thus increasing its chances for failure down the road, we still had a follow-through and it has to be respected. Being disciplined and respecting the rules is the only way to prevent yourself from missing a possible uptrend that could come from this. Looking for longs and not convincing yourself that “this rally will fail” (how many times did I hear that on Thursday and Friday??) is your only concern right now. If we can’t find any new longs breaking out of green, tight, accumulation filled bases and the market rolls over, then you cut your losses. It is that easy.

But, if you try to outsmart the market and show it how smart you are, you are going to look as ridiculous as EVERYONE (AND I MEAN EVERYONE) did during the July/August lows in 2006. While I was not bullish on those lows because of the low volume and lack of strong longs, I still respected the trend and went long many stocks that made 50%-100% gains. Finding these three gems (HRZ, AFSI, and TESO–all produced 50% gains quickly) that I loaded up on enabled me to make some very nice gains while many people struggled with the last rally. This is why WE follow rules and not sheeple.

Now, how will we know if this rally is going to fail? We will know if this rally is going to fail if all of a sudden we start getting hit with distribution days. It only takes one distribution day to throw the rally into trouble. But if we get four to five distribution days before breaking the August 16 lows, you can guarantee it will not be long before those lows are breached. The also other OBVIOUS signal that this rally has failed will be if we pierce those August 16 lows. That is your failure line.

Right now, sentiment seems to be a bit bearish and that, in turn, is bullish for equities. The put/call ratio hovered around .8 to 1.10 all week long and closed Friday at a still pretty high .90. That clearly is showing us that the retail crowd is placing nearly as many bearish bets as long bets. When the crowd thinks they are smart enough to make money on the downside, it is probably safe to assume the downside is not the side to be on. This also lines up with the Investors Intelligence survey. This survey shows only 41% bulls to 37% bears. While this number did NOT cross, normally confirming a market bottom, the fact that these numbers have touched definitely shows that there are enough bears out there to produce a rally as their money comes in off the sidelines. However, it would have been a lot better if the bulls and bears would have crossed. That definitely would have me thinking we bottomed. But, there is still more possible work to do. If the bears were at 45% and the bulls were at 35%, and I had some nice green charts, you better believe I would be in the “bottom calling” camp.

Some things that make it hard for me to believe all the selling is over is that we have absolutely no new leaders with nice charts stepping up currently. Now, that could change, with the Computer and Internet-E Commerce groups moving up the ranks, along with the Telecom stocks showing their muscle leading stocks with the amount of new 52-week highs on Friday. If these stocks can find me some fresh leaders, then I will be much happier. But as it is most of these groups don’t have much working for them just yet.

Instead, we have the Food-Dairy Products group leading this current rally. THAT IS NOT BULLISH. The other problem I see is that we are being led up by a select and very small group of big-cap growth (most being tech) stocks. GRMN, GOOG, BIDU, AAPL, RIMM, DRYS, CELG, ZNH, LFC, TNH, CHL, EXM, and FWLT continue to just breakout, build a sloppy base, breakout, build another sloppy base, breakout, and do this over and over. So far so good, with these stocks. However, IF their uptrends ever stop, you can bet that the markets selloff will just be beginning. Many inexperienced investors already see these stocks as a buy on every dip. Soon they will be convinced that EVERY dip is a buy, no matter how many dips they have. When that happens, you better believe I will be short and maxed out on margin in these once loved former leaders.

One other key thing about this rally attempt is that only the SP-500 has a B rating. When the stock market bottomed in March 2003 (after putting in the real bottom in October 2002) the Nasdaq carried an ACC/DIS rating of an A-. So even if we have in fact made a short-term bottom, it is almost guaranteed to not be ready for a real rally for at least a very long time, as there is plenty of distribution still lingering in this market. When you have the IBD 100 with a D- for an ACC/DIS rating, it seriously can’t be all that great out there. Take this along with the fact that the only index above the 50 day moving average is the Nasdaq and you have a market that still has plenty of headwinds facing it, despite that follow-through.

In honesty, it still appears, the best play is to continue to stay long your strong stocks in an uptrend, to keep new buys and new shorts small unless the charts are perfect (not many like that at all), cut your losses fast on those stocks that do not work out, and to try to stay off too much margin and remain cash heavy until a clear trend establishes itself. I hate to tell you, but, right now, there is no solid uptrend or downtrend; just a big wild low-volume mess that is sure to only continue.

WINNERS: KHD 131% ZNH 238% MOS 140% EBIX 60% VDSI 141% CRNT 105% OMTR 215% BCSI 91% ANO 167% FSLR 59%

No comments: