Tuesday Morning Briefing

Welcome to our morning briefing. Here we are reviewing short term setups ahead of the NYSE opening bell. If you are a scalper or swing trader then these setups may be of interest to you. As usual keep in mind that these are short term setups although they could be used as early entries for more longer term positions.


Equities still gyrating within their range, however the NQ is looking a bit more gung-ho and I’m grabbing 1/2R right here with a stop below 4203.


Crude just breached it’s 100-hour SMA and is back for the obligatory retest – NLSL right underneath – I love these types of setups. Long here with a stop below the 25-hour.

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


Muppet Time!

It never fails. Despite all efforts to the contrary a handful of you retail rats accidentally find yourselves in the midst of a winning campaign. Invariably early withdrawal symptoms to your expired ADHD meds are starting to appear as the urge to do something (i.e. take profits now or otherwise ruin your odds of long term profitability) is growing by the hour. After all, winning is not something you are accustomed to and there’s no social media support network backing you up as everyone now hates your guts and hopes for an opportunity to urinate onto your shallow grave. For it is lonely at the top and you are on your own.

Now I have tried many times to drill this point into your rodent brains but apparently the reflexive Pavlovian response is tantamount to my childhood attempts of stacking snausages onto my dog’s snout. Very rarely do you get a to a count of three as Woofy simply can’t wrap his canine brain around the fact that the longer he is able to wait the bigger the pay-off. In the end all this boils down to the fact that the half-life time of your ability to sit still and do nothing is shorter than that of your average field mouse.


Now, to answer the question on your mind: Yes, and no. It all depends on your trading style.

Oh, what was the question you ask?

Is it a good time to take profits here?

Well, obviously it’s a great opportunity to shake out the muppets. Look at the chart below and what I posted yesterday. If you got positioned when/where I told you to on Monday morning then you are an honorary member of the strong hands club right now (no secret decoder ring). And this grants you the rare luxury to do nothing and let things run its invariable course. For every time you are in an ongoing campaign there is only one equation you should be concerned about:

What is the ratio between opportunity and risk right now?


Meaning, what are the odds the tape is going to advance (or drop) more than the odds for it to reverse and stop me out (wherever your stop is). This is not an easy answer and it depends on your trading style. For automated systems for example I painstakingly measure the average MFE and MAE of each system and then use those statistics to arrive at an optimum campaign management style.

For discretionary campaigns you employ a fuzzy logic approach based on your pertinent experience and again your trading style, which can be shifted as the campaign unfolds and new evidence is revealed. That however requires strict personal discipline and that right there discounts 90% of all participants. I know I know – the truth hurts – you can blame your Kindergarten teacher or some dramatic childhood experience if that makes you feel better. Believe it or not – I don’t come here to stomp on your fragile egos – no matter how tempting.


Now for me personally here right now I am more concerned about the possibility for the bears to have their faces ripped off. And the odds are about 50/50 that this will happen in the coming week. However we still cannot discount the the possibility that we may retest the lows or drop even lower. Plus today’s event schedule offers a ton of opportunity for monkey business across the board. The bears still have a prayer of a chance to turn the table as long as we remain below the 25-day SMA.

I for one am perfectly happy to endure a deep retrace because if this eventually continues higher I’ll be holding it all the way. And if it fails – well, I’m out at break/even. So my worst case sceneario is to lose nothing and the best case scenario is to smile all the way to the bank. Again. Remember the Dollar campaign two months back. Same idea and same approach.


On the setup side I really like crude this morning which seems to be gaining a bit ground. Besides everyone hates it right now which increases the odds of a little surprise squeeze. I’m putting half an R on long above the 25-hour SMA – stop below 82.

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Words to the wise:


For some of you it is important to realize that trading is not a spectator sport. Invariably you will get the crap kicked out of you a few times and everyone processes that experience in different ways. Some simply walk away, others dust themselves up, learn their lessons and jump back into the ring. But there are many who cling onto the dream and at some point decide to become some sort of couch coach. A lot of self deception and pain avoidance is at play here but essentially it makes you feel as if you’re still part of the game. ZeroEdge is full of these people – the vast majority of them haven’t executed a trade in years.

Drawing lines on a chart and talking about it doesn’t make you a trader – only placing trades and accepting the invariable consequence of either winning or losing does that for you. Even if you’ve had a tough year and you may decide to sit things out for a while there will come the day when you have to get back on the horse. When you’re at that point we are here to help you and guide you along. But it’s unproductive to come here post some illustrious charts without intent to use them for trading. At best it’s a boring academic exercise and at worst it’s a waste of your and our time.



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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