Based on successful Russell 2000 VLT BUY signals, 1982-forward, the index had gained an average of 23% eight months later—and none had a losing position. Since the VLT BUY on January 31st (eight months ago), the Russell 2000 has dropped 3.9%. Furthermore, Small Caps bottomed 15 months ago, and in a normal cyclical bull market, the Russell 2000 would be up 50-70% by this time.
Our Very Long Term (VLT) Momentum algorithm has been a very good “confirmatory” market tool over the years, especially at the onset of a new cyclical bull market. But VLT has proven to be of little to no value in navigating this year’s gyrations. VLT’s latest flip-flops reinforce our view that the market leaderboard is set to be rearranged.
We’ve written periodically about the likely distortion of market breadth figures resulting from High Frequency Trading, the domination of ETFs, and (we believe, most importantly) the decimalization of stock quotations. Our concerns led us to expand our technical arsenal, and one of the gems we uncovered in that process was the High/Low Logic Index (HLLI).
Last month we wrote that a big March gain would trigger a Very Long Term (VLT) Momentum BUY signal on the S&P 500 (Chart). The month’s 6.8% S&P 500 gain wasn’t quite enough to do the trick, but we’re intrigued that VLT did issue BUY signals for three of the market’s cyclical sectors, including Energy, Materials, and Industrials.
As expected, our VLT Momentum algorithm triggered a “low-risk” cyclical buy signal on crude oil in late October, only the 11th buy signal in the past 30 years. This algorithm was originally designed to identify low-risk entry points into the stock market, but we’ve found it useful with other assets as well.