Happy Turkey Slaughter!

I take it by now most of you guys are already heading to to your respective Thanksgiving destinations. Fortunately the Mole will be spared this particular holiday extravaganza as it’s not celebrated over here in Europe (don’t worry, we have a ton of our own). Honestly I never really cared much for Thanksgiving during my time in the States. Obviously it’s the second biggest U.S. holiday season after Christmas and people tend to plan their time off around both, courtesy of stingy employers offering only minimal vacation time.

I remember the very first time I signed an employment contract after I had just received my green card. I couldn’t fathom that I only got 14 days off per year. And that was during the dotcom bubble - I was told that it was rather generous compared with some folks working in blue collar professions. Not that I really take long vacations European style but when I’d like to have them when I need them. Of course once I started to trade for a living it afforded me to travel outside of popular holiday periods. So I tend to take time off in fall or in spring instead of the summer vacation season or in December. I’ve always been a person who loves to go against the grain, which makes me a horrible employee, but I always enjoyed working on my own terms. Which apparently seems to be the way of the future. Less security but if you’re flexible and enjoy controlling your own life then the sky is the limit.


Anyway, although I live in Europe my vacation and holiday schedule is still very much tied to the States, courtesy of my responsibilities to my readers and of course my intrepid subscribers. So virtually I’m still living my life over there which is kind of interesting. Much of my day revolves around my work, which includes trading, blogging, conversing in English, all based on roughly an Eastern time zone. However when I set foot outside I’m suddenly in Spain and I have to completely switch my brain over, in terms of language of course but also culturally. This can actually be quite difficult at times but given the cultural chameleon I have become over the years I’m quite used to it now.


Alright – let’s talk markets for a moment. As you can see participation has now come to a standstill and we all have better things to do then to watch pre-holiday tape.


What is interesting however – or will become so next week – is that the VIX is now dropping below 12 again. That doesn’t mean we’re going to see a jump higher but if you look at the Bollinger (in red) it’s clear that we’re starting to compress quite a bit. This situation may go on for a while – perhaps all through the holidays and into the EOY. However, sooner or later there is always a price to be paid and we are going to run out of buyers at some point. I won’t hazard to guess when that happens but we are clearly late in the current advance. I know that I suggested the possibility of a correction weeks ago – but at the same time I also held my long positions, knowing that calling tops during rocket periods would be rather unwise.


I’m not seeing any signs of trouble on the VXV:VIX ratio but the VIX:VXO is starting to drop a bit and we’re now developing quite a divergence. It could be pricing irregularities due to the holidays so we’ll have to revisit this situation on Monday or Tuesday. But if it persists then we need start paying attention. For now however there is little cause for concern.

Alright, this will be my last post for this week and I’ll resume my usual schedule on Monday. The Zero is going to be running on Friday but I won’t be here posting. Thor and CrazyIvan will continue as usual of course as futures and forex exchanges do not observe Thanksgiving.  However until Sunday night I won’t be sending any new Thor setups – CrazyIvan however may take entries. If anything is unclear or you have problems feel free to email me but please allow 24 hours as I won’t be checking emails around the clock.

Please travel safely now! My revenue milestones don’t permit reader attrition due to traffic accidents ;-)

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Hurdles Ahead

We have come a long way in the past three sessions but the easy part of the journey is now nearing its end. For there are hurdles looming ahead plus I’m seeing some signature signs of short term shenanigans flashing all over the place. Let’s start with where we are right now:


Quite a climb since that is and there’s probably room for a few more handles. But bear in mind that we are now facing a trifecta of previously tested moving averages – at least per my lens and more often than not they have been observed.


On the NQ things are looking quite a bit more bullish – AAPL definitely had a thing or two to do with that. However daily resistance is right ahead and we’re about to smack into it. On the weekly panel we’re however above the 25-week SMA, so that’s pretty positive.


Today’s session looks like it’s been on cruise control – the Zero also suggests that the bots are driving this one higher.


Quarterly volatility has eased off quite a bit along with the VIX and the ratio has been leading the advance in the past few sessions. All good and given that we’ve got more than a week of trading ahead of us it’s not impossible that the bulls may actually pull this off and close the month above the NLSL.

So much for the good news – now let’s talk about some of the concerns:

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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. Happy Turkey Slaughter!
    2. One Chart Says It All
    3. Monday Snooze
    4. Monday Morning Briefing
    5. The Slow Walk-Down
    6. It Keeps Going And Going And….
    7. The Bots Are Back!
    8. An Impending Trend Shift?
    9. Fade The Noise – Play The Game
    10. Tuesday Morning Briefing