What if the S&P 500’s September 2nd closing high were to miraculously stand as the cycle’s high-water mark? If it did, the peak was presaged—in retrospect—by two Federal Reserve Bank presidents who rode the liquidity wave all the way to its crest after assuring the floodgates would be left wide open. Both resigned in September.
The “Nothin’ Matters” market lifted the S&P 500 to eight all-time highs in the nine trading days through July 7th. It’s been difficult to assail the stock market’s technical merits, but there are suddenly some short-term cracks among the handful of market indexes we consider “bellwethers.”
For valuation work, we’ve traditionally favored the 1,200 company Leuthold Small Cap universe over the S&P SmallCap 600 because we get almost a full additional decade of perspective. But figures for the latter shed extra light on just how significant the revaluation in Small Caps has been.
Three months ago, Large Cap Growth and Momentum were the winning ways to play the market; the long-time resiliency of these entrenched leaders was a cornerstone of the bullish case. Suddenly it’s Value and Deep Cyclicals leading, anything possessing Momentum, of late, has turned toxic. Ironically, this “new” leadership is now the foundation for the bullish reasoning.
Major market tops are drawn-out processes that can prove costly, and infuriating, to bulls and bears alike. Younger readers might be surprised to know that was true before Twitter.
Throughout the spring and summer, the market could alternatively be characterized as “divergent” or “disjointed”—but until very recently it could not be considered “distributive.” Now, Mid and Small Caps have hit a short-term air pocket and breadth figures were exceptionally poor at September’s scattered highs in the DJIA and S&P 500.
The stock market rally has carried far enough to flip some of our trend-following work bullish, lifting the Major Trend Index to a low-neutral reading. The improvement prompted an increase in asset allocation portfolios’ net equity exposure to 42% (up from 36% previously).
Transportation stocks have confounded conventional wisdom about their presumed relationship with oil during the past three years.
We’ve frequently mentioned the two-faced nature of thematic leadership during the current bull market. Filtering out the minor swings, Phase One lasted from March 2009 through February 2011 and was dominated by low quality, high beta and cyclical stocks.