Bulls have been quick to assure us that this market “bears” no resemblance to the dot-com bust. We agree—but probably for very different reasons. Among them are the conventional breadth measures, which provided little warning of this year’s January peak. And, the initial decline off January’s top has been much broader than during the first phase of the dot-com bust.
A new market high that is not confirmed by the stocks of companies that “move the goods” is a warning signal. We reviewed the Transports’ action in all years the S&P 500 accomplished a 12-month high during the month of July, like it did this year.
The Wall Street technical crowd remains mostly bullish, in large part because breadth accompanying this year’s new high has been decent. We follow the same figures and can’t dismiss their point. But pundits whose market views are heavily reliant upon the NYSE breadth figures should be aware of a strong upside bias that’s existed in the data since around 2001.
It’s no secret that the term “January Effect” has taken on a different meaning in recent years. Once a reference to the price bounce that underperforming small caps stocks receive as year end selling pressures dissipate, it has now been adopted by commentators to describe the unconstrained rally of large cap stocks, as the seasonal flood of cash pouring into big cap growth funds is invested