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$RACE – Ferrari racing up the Darvas stairs…

At the risk of oversimplification, the most effective ways to trade stocks is to keep it simple.

One of the best ever at this was Nicholas Darvas.

His method was to put a simple box around a stock’s price consolidation and buy it as the stock came out of the top of the box and either put a stop loss below his trade price (which would be a tight stop if the stock came back into the box) or below the bottom of the box (depending on anyone’s individual risk parameters).

Darvas said he never shorted a stock dropping below the bottom of a box only because he felt he was not psychologically suited to selling short. Still that would be, especially in a bear market, as simple of buying the top of one of his boxes in a bull market.

Darvas’ book “How I Made $2,000,000 In The Stock Market” (this was the 1950s) describes his “Box System”. It is a classic. And timeless – see the chart of RACE below.

I have said before the easiest way to buy or not buy an IPO is to put a box on the high and low of its first day of trading and buy above the top of the box and short below the box. While an IPO’s first day is itself a Darvas box (blue on the chart below) as one can see here there are others also very worthwhile for the trader as well as a longer-term investor.

(Click on chart for a larger view)


$BABA from day one…

With BABA at new all time highs, I marked up the chart below mostly for fun, (although over the years it has been useful), and to suggest one could make a living trading just one stock.

(click on chart for a larger view)


$SPY – testing an important level

SPY, the monster S&P 500 ETF, took a look at 212.5 again today and held that support in late day trading. A couple of weeks ago it was doing that repeatedly.

My guess it will bounce a bit from here but the question is how high and what after that?

If it does not run right back up to the top of the recent range there is a likelihood that the steep decline market bears have so long been waiting for will be at hand.

The confounding thing about the general market in the past three months has been how many fundamental and technical indications have dropped into place that bear similarities to the market tops in 2000 and 2007 but the price drop has not gotten going in earnest.

For instance, monthly NYSE margin debt has clicked down again in a massive divergence to the market’s high level sideways move. Breadth in general has been declining despite price index defiance. It could be only the Fed, with an eye on the election, is holding the market up.


If today’s rip to the downside, on the other hand, is the shot that cripples the lumbering ship, 208 on SPY could be seen in a hurry, and 200 eventually would not be out of the question.

This is one of those times when long-term investors better sit up and take notice.  Decide how much of the current gain one is willing to lose and stick to it.  If there is a sell-off (for the rest of year?),  the signs it is, once again, not different this time have been obvious for some time.

(right click on the chart for a larger view)


Watching $BID for a market top

Sotheby’s Holding (BID) has so often been a market bellwether.

And at tops at that!  A rare thing in the world of calling market direction. Bottoms are easier to see and sometimes obvious but tops…”calling” tops has killed many a market prognosticator and killed many a bear.

So let me say right off I’m not calling a top here.  Just trying to pay attention…

And when BID quits rallying and/or diverges with general market, it is time to pay attention.  BID was down a bit on its monthly chart in September.  That is a lower high for the stock while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq drifted higher.

What’s it mean?  Maybe nothing.  Yet.  But take a look at the chart action showing BID with the SPX on the chart below in 2000 and 2007.  One might say, as BID goes so goes everything else.

And this time, so far, BID has not even crawled up to the top of its long-term price range, which is rather ominous going forward.

(click on the chart for a larger view)



$SPY – anticipating new highs

Following the green…

SPY, the ETF for S&P 500 index,  after being trapped in a box (see chart below) for 37 trading days, nearly four weeks of frustrating sideways chop, has a good chance it will resolve itself to the upside and into new high ground tomorrow.

And take the entire stock market with it.

The trouble is as it comes to the top of the box again, 45 of the stocks on my nifty-fifty stock list are on buys.  That’s a lot, so much that the last two times (8/15 and 8/23) there were 40 or more, the market took a sharp drop the next trading day.

The difference this time is market breadth has turned up after 27 days of decline.  It is as if the bears, having tried but failed to take the market down, have run out of time.

Note the follow through on SPY each time breadth turned up in the immediate past (the green lines on the chart).  If the market follows the green again this time there is no where else to go but to new highs.

But since anticipation is only anticipation, needless to say, one has to be nimble at this juncture either way, and protective stops are a must, long or short.

(right click on the chart for a larger view)


This market could scream higher…

Call this a perspective on my Nifty-Fifty stock list.

Yesterday, there were 44 of the 50 stocks on sell signals.  That usually marks either the beginning of a bottom or the bottom itself.

On the up day today (however small) one has to lean to the idea this is the bottom itself.

Ask me, this is hard to believe since the market virtually has not gone down at all. So it seems this is a sideways move that will vault (scream) to new highs again soon. Maybe tomorrow.

Note on the chart below the past instances of 40 or more sells on the Nifty-Fifty.  Hard to believe but pretty plain to see.

(right click on the chart for a larger view)


#Greed top could lead to #SPY stumble

CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed Index”, a calculation of seven key market indicators in order to gauge the primary emotions underlying the stock market, appears to have put in a double top at an extreme greed level.

Historically, this pattern has led to significant sell-offs in the general market as investors’ and traders’ greed, fueled by the market’s recent rally, cycle down once again to a prevalent fear level.

There is really no way to tell how far the S&P 500 index (SPX, also the SPY ETF) will fall but the last time this down cycle took place the SPY fell from a high of 211 to a low of 185 (about 250 SPX points, a 10% or so correction). There is no guarantee it will stop there.

Regardless, this is an excellent shorting opportunity across the face of the stock market, just as it will eventually lead to an fine buying opportunity later on.

Market timing.  They say it can’t be done but a study of the chart below should make it rather obvious “they” don’t know what they are talking about.

(right click on the chart to view a larger image)


#NYSE Margin Debt

This may be too simplistic but every time I look at this Doug Short chart, I think at least 800 SPX points down before this finishes unraveling. It takes time, of course, but this time that would put the S&P 500 somewhere in the 1400s.

These numbers from the NYSE are a month old so the current record rally is not in them yet but I suspect when it is, it’ll look similar to that little blip up in 2008 just before the real tumble continued.

For Doug Short’s article GO HERE.

(click on chart for a larger view)

Nyse Margin Debt 2016-04-02_1114


#Banks – Someone said there’s a rally?

Since February 12th the stock market has been rallying strongly.

So what’s with these guys?

And to top it off, Bloomberg had an article this morning on CEO compensation at the biggest banks.  Now we know where all the QE went.

(click on image for a larger view)