Falling Swords

The best advice I can offer you guys right now is to not resort to guesswork when it comes to when we’ll see a low. We are sailing in dangerous waters and if you’re not already short then simply wait it out – get used to the idea that you missed the boat. Anything can happen down here and it will!


Most importantly don’t fall prey to mental masturbation such as this. So it’s Ebola that’s bringing down the market now? Is that a fact? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the Fed’s money pump is slowly drying up? Or that we’ve been in a raging bull market for five years and counting which is begging for a correction?

It’s strange how the financial media continues to draw correlations between events and market cycles, even if they are disproven over and over again. And even IF those events were the actual cause – it’s useless to follow them as there is no chance of exploiting the information. How many people went long crude thinking that Russian supply disruptions in Europe would swing prices higher? And how exactly has that been working out for you?

Forget about the news – just follow the charts – they tell us all we need to know.


Or NOT. If you recall my write up on market periods – we are in the midst of a rocket right now and there’s no telling when it’ll end. The wave wankers have tried over and over to employ all kinds of measures to project when a ‘third wave’ may end. The last time I tried that was in early 2009 when everyone was looking far below 666 based on their careful counts.


The simple truth is that you’ll never know until after the fact – so stop trying to guess. Don’t think you are smarter than the millions of participants who are looking at the very same chart right now. We may bounce here today and hold the 25-week BB, or we could drop like a rock here and not stop until near 1700. I don’t know – but one think I do know for sure:

Never ever attempt to step underneath a falling sword.


The one chart that’s been a thorn in my eye is this one – the VIX:VXO. It keeps pointing up and I really don’t know why. But we are in rough waters as I said and perhaps whoever is pricing those ATM options is tripping over their own hubris. Or they know something I don’t. Whatever it is – when things don’t make sense then you simply wait it out. We’ve done well this year – no sense in getting caught up in all the excitement (i.e. panic) and resort to forcing the issue. That rarely results in profitable trades.


Gold is looking pretty interesting right now as it’s fighting to overcome triple resistance. My current entry is betting that it’s going to fail but a few ticks higher above 1230 I’ll be long. Dynamics can shift quickly here and this is an important inflection point – which makes for good entries.

A few more ST charts below the fold:

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You have been briefed – now have fun but keep it frosty. See you guys later this afternoon.


Not Business As Usual

The dynamics have changed and clearly we are not in the same type of market as we’ve become accustomed to in the past five years. We have seen a few banana peel slips since those lows in early 2009 but every step on the way it has always paid to give the bulls the benefit of the doubt. Contrast that type of market sentiment with what we have been observing over the past two months – instead of bullish surprises it’s been the bears who have been serving them up.


Last night the E-Mini was were trading near a very important inflection point above the psychologically important 1900 mark. A bounce here was almost baked in – well, almost. As I had pointed out – should the bulls drop the ball here we are going quite a bit lower. It doesn’t matter if we suddenly drive higher from here – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bounce now, after everyone has been faked out by yet another drop to the downside. But it’s immaterial as technical damage continues to accumulate after a solid weekly sell signal.

Bottom Line: Volatility continues to climb and a bounce can happen here at any time. However, if you are short right now there is no reason for you to take profits yet – you cannot ride a big move lower if you try to accommodate every small correction to the upside. Remember we are in SKEW month – and I’ve been warning you all that anything can happen in October. On average markets rarely fall apart during this month but when they do they do it in a spectacular fashion.


Setups – talking about SKEW and tail risk – here’s a speculative one: USD/ZAR. It’s in a pretty good spot right now to throw 1/2R at a long with a stop a few pips below the 100-hour. Which is still dropping a little and that’s why I’m not playing a full position.

More below the fold – please step into my lair:

More charts and commentary below for anyone donning a secret decoder ring. If you are interested in becoming a Gold member then don't waste time and sign up here. And if you are a Zero subscriber you get free access to all Gold posts, which gives you double the bang for your buck!

Please login or subscribe here to see the remainder of this post.

You have been briefed – now have fun but keep it frosty. See you guys later this afternoon.


The Wheels Are Coming Off

It seems that the wheels are finally coming off this carefully managed market. I think we all know that the writing has been on the wall for a while now. In recent weeks the bulls managed to fumble several important inflection points and bounces near important lows have become weaker and more sporadic. That may be forgivable once or twice but at some point there will be a price to pay. We have a ton of material to go through today – I promised you a long term update and I’m actually glad I waited another day as we are at the cusp of a potential trend change – medium term most likely and perhaps even long term.



Let’s start with the easy (but reliable) stuff – our weekly stochastic on the SPX. I’m sure many of you use that indicator – but very few actually know what makes it tick. It’s rather simple – a stochastic follows the speed or the momentum of price. As a rule, the momentum changes direction before price. So it’s not so much about where the line is right now – it’s about how it correlates with price movements.

If you’ve been coming here for a few years now then you probably remember this chart and you probably also know that I rarely use neither a stochastic nor a MACD in my daily charts. I think they’re generally overhyped and almost always lag behind. On the weekly side however it’s been a great tool for confirming trend changes – it rarely fails.

The only times it did fail were actually earlier this year when the K% line touched the 50 mark twice (it’s an oscillator really not an indicator) and then bounced back higher. Very very rarely does this actually happen – in most cases we see more downside after that. Not always a touch of the 20 but always more significant downside. I am not going to resort to speculation or conspiracy theories here – that’s not my style. But that said – equities have had a lot of help in the past few years and these things are to be expected. They often however also point toward the formation of a medium term or even long term topping pattern.

Markets can not bubble higher forever – corrections are healthy and are needed. It is a fact of general market dynamic that many investors would like to ignore and often irrational exuberance can frustrate hardcore technical traders for longer they would care – or perhaps afford. We here at Evil Speculator may be hardcore but we have long learned that lesson and that has served us extremely well over the past few years. However, we must also not fall into the trap of recency bias – even on the long term side. So let’s consider what other evidence is on the table right now – and there happens to be plenty.


So let’s move on to breadth – here’s the SPXA50 vs the SPXA200 – it shows us how many stocks in the SPX are trading above their 50-day SMA vs. the ones trading above their 200-day SMA. Basically you plot the 50 against the 200 in order to know when the 200 is falling behind. Some people have a problem understanding ratios but they are pretty simple if you think it through – on one hand – on the other they can also be complicated.

The 50 gets divided by the 200, right? So if the 50 is dropping and the 200 remains the same then then we know that stocks are still above their 200 but more are falling through their 50. For example if the 50 is at 1.0 and the 200 at 1.0 we get 1.0. Now what happens if the 50 drops to 0.8 and the 200 only to 0.9? Now we dropped to 0.89.

It’s not my intent to give you an algebra lesson, but my point is to start thinking of how momentum works. Because let’s say the 50 goes to 0.9 and the 200 remains at 1.0? That’s good isn’t it? More stocks above their 200 is a good thing, right? Well, not really – because now man of those sticks are approaching the 200 SMA. If you do the math the ratio comes out to 0.9, so technically we’re very close to where we were. Remember that the 200 is a lot slower than the 50 and initially the latter is easier to recover – as stocks draw lower however it becomes harder and harder.

The 50 is easier to recover after a quick fall – so sometimes you get a quick drop and a ton of stocks fall through their 50 SMA. The same stocks may be mostly still be above their 200 and after a few trading days they may manage to recover the 50. So all is good again, right? No – because we are now closer to the 200 on many fronts and the next time a good number of stocks drop again some of them will take out the 200 as well. So it’s a bit of a complex interplay between two moving averages. Just imagine in your mind the 50 gyrating above its 200 – both represent general smoothed price dynamic and the ratio between them tells us about the health of the market.

Another aspect of breadth our outliers – you may often have a core of outliers that keeps the indices at a certain mark – stocks like AAPL, AMZN, or most recently BABA. Their high valuations may distort the real story behind the remainder of this index’s underlying health and momentum – but breadth tells that story clearly.


Here we play the same ratio game on the NYSE. I am having a harder time drawing any conclusions on this one but thing is clear: the dynamics of market behavior seems to be shifting. Just watch how the 2013 advance extended into early summer and then suddenly something broke. What we are now seeing could very easily be the beginning of a underlying shift in market dynamics. If your portfolio is still heavily leaning toward the long side (i.e. delta positive for option traders) then I suggest you start paying attention as to not outstay your welcome.


Here we are looking at the NYSE declining vs advancing volume. Yes you guessed it – breadth again – same idea. But we are measuring NYSE volume this time and it tells us about the vehemence of the ongoing move, to the up- and downside. It’s been pretty contained in the past few years and even right now there’s no real sense of a panic. Complacency still rules the day.


On the VXV:VIX we measure 30-day vs. quarterly implied volatility. In essence this tells us how market makers feel about the next 30 to 90 days. It’s been a bit of a ping-pong game in recent years and the best I can tell you right now is that we are probably going to head down a bit further before we see a short term bounce.


The VIX:VXO is more focused on the next few weeks and we also seem to have more downside momo available to us. So be very careful in picking lows here, you may be overwhelmed by unexpected market behavior which we have not seen in recent years. I’m not saying a bounce cannot happen here – I’m actually covering that further below. But don’t jump to conclusions and expect the same BTFD behavior as in recent years. Investors are clearly a bit rattled and it’s not business as usual as in recent years.

Alright more long term goodness below the fold – please step into my lair:

More charts and commentary below for anyone donning a secret decoder ring. If you are interested in becoming a Gold member then don't waste time and sign up here. And if you are a Zero subscriber you get free access to all Gold posts, which gives you double the bang for your buck!

Please login or subscribe here to see the remainder of this post.

Alright, all that ought to keep you guys busy for a while. Seems like it’s going to be a fun fourth quarter. Let’s get that money!


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    1. Mad Monday Morning Briefing
    2. I Robot
    3. FEAR
    4. Falling Swords
    5. The End Of The Beginning
    6. Not Business As Usual
    7. Time For A Breather
    8. Prepare to be confused
    9. Major Technical Damage
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