Breakdown in Mega-Cap Growth Confirms Bear Phase

KEY

TAKEAWAYS

  • Early breakdowns from AAPL and TSLA provided initial warnings of a late stage bull market.
  • Exponential gains in stocks like SMCI and MSTR have now turned into steep pullbacks with both stocks breaking below moving average support.
  • With AMZN and NFLX finishing the week below their 50-day moving average, the rotation away from growth leadership may now be in full force.

While our major equity benchmarks showed incredible strength in Q1 2024, breadth conditions have been deteriorating since mid-March. Despite the weakening breadth readings, and the initial breakdowns of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100, leading growth names, including the formerly-described Magnificent 7 stocks, had remained in clearly-defined uptrends.

This week, some of the top-performing stocks in the S&P 500 finally broke below their 50-day moving averages. While this signal on its own is not a sign of a market top, these breakdowns represent just one of the many clear signals that the bull market off the October 2023 low may be over.

Today, we’ll briefly review some of the early breakdowns in the mega-cap growth space, how some of the top-ranked SCTR stocks have shown recent weakness, and why the “Fantastic Four” (current front-runner to replace the “Magnificent 7 moniker) breaking down may represent a key confirmation for a new bear phase.

The Early Breakdowns: Apple (AAPL) & Tesla (TSLA)

Tesla has been in a confirmed downtrend since July 2023, and Apple has appeared in a weak technical configuration since failing to break above the $200 level in December and January. But both charts have literally and figuratively made a new low this week.

Note how both charts have remained below downward-sloping 50-day moving averages since mid-January. Also observe how both have shown failed attempts to break above that moving average in recent months. When stocks are making lower lows and lower highs, and trending below downward-sloping moving averages, I’ve learned it’s best to avoid taking action until some of those conditions start to change. 


Ready to talk market breadth indicators? Our next free webinar, Breaking Down Breadth, will focus on breadth conditions now vs. previous market tops. Join me on Tuesday, April 23rd at 1pm ET as we review the current market environment through the lens of breadth indicators, compare them to conditions at previous market tops, and discuss the likelihood of further drawdowns for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Sign up HERE for this free webcast!


As these stocks broke down, diverging from most other leading growth names, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 pushed much higher. So let’s see some of the stocks that served as leadership in Q1.

The Top-Ranked SCTRs: Super Micro Computer (SMCI) & MicroStrategy (MSTR)

Here, we have two names that were less well-known until they experienced exponential gains earlier this year. And while they certainly appeared overextended in March, they have now both come right down to earth.

From the end of 2023 to their peaks in March 2024, SMCI and MSTR gained 350% and 175%, respectively. They both were a far distance from moving average support, giving clear signs of overbought conditions. So far in April, both stocks have traded much lower, and they each finished this week below their 50-day moving averages.

It’s normal for stocks in strong uptrends to pull back and test moving average support. Indeed, the 50-day moving average often serves as a potential entry point for a “buy on the dips” strategy. But when top performers fail to hold this crucial short-term support level, I have found that it often implies a broader move to more risk-off positioning.

What about the best of the biggest–in other words, the most magnificent of the Magnificent 7?

The Fantastic Four Breakdowns: Netflix (NFLX) & Amazon (AMZN)

That brings us to perhaps the most concerning development this week. As I recently posted on my social media accounts, “As long as $AMZN and $NFLX remain above the 50-day moving average, you can make an argument for ‘short-term pullback’ as opposed to ‘protracted and painful decline.'” Unfortunately, this week, we finally observed this breakdown of breakdowns.

Mega-cap growth stocks wield an outsized influence on our top-heavy growth-dominated equity benchmarks. In recent weeks, bearish momentum divergences, weakening breadth conditions, and breaks of “line in the sand” support levels had us thinking market weakness over market strength. But the resilience of the Fantastic Four stocks gave us just a glimmer of hope that a pullback may be limited.

Given this week’s breakdown in the charts of previous top performers, we feel this just may be the beginning of the great bear phase of Q2 2024.

RR#6,

Dave

P.S. Ready to upgrade your investment process? Check out my free behavioral investing course!


David Keller, CMT

Chief Market Strategist

StockCharts.com


Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. The ideas and strategies should never be used without first assessing your own personal and financial situation, or without consulting a financial professional.

The author does not have a position in mentioned securities at the time of publication. Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of any other person or entity.

David Keller

About the author:
David Keller, CMT is Chief Market Strategist at StockCharts.com, where he helps investors minimize behavioral biases through technical analysis. He is a frequent host on StockCharts TV, and he relates mindfulness techniques to investor decision making in his blog, The Mindful Investor.

David is also President and Chief Strategist at Sierra Alpha Research LLC, a boutique investment research firm focused on managing risk through market awareness. He combines the strengths of technical analysis, behavioral finance, and data visualization to identify investment opportunities and enrich relationships between advisors and clients.
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Why the Santa Rally Stumbled; QQQ Sets Up for Big Move, Be Careful

Next week could make or break the Santa rally.

The Fed meets on 12/12 and 13, and CPI and PPI are due out simultaneously. As a result, it wouldn’t a bad idea to review portfolios carefully, to consider taking some profits and to game out some potential ways to hedge. Still, the Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) is forecasting a large, and potentially bullish move soon. Given the bullish seasonal trends, further upside is not out of the question.

This is especially notable given the recent liquidity scare and serendipitous recovery in the financial system, which I describe directly below. Let’s start by looking at the price chart for the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ).

Cutting to the chase, the Bollinger Bands are tightening around QQQ’s prices. That’s a sign, as I detailed here, that a big move is coming. Moreover, money flows, as indicated by Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV) are perking up. A move in QQQ above $394 would likely trigger a whole lot of algo trading programs queued up to trade breakouts.

Why the Santa Rally Stumbled Last Week

Stock traders who have profited from the October 2023 bottom should be thanking the bond market for their good fortune, which means that any major reversal in bond yields will likely be followed by what could be a major selloff in stocks. On the other hand, as can only happen in the strange world known as Wall Street, the recent rally in bonds nearly pulled the plug on the entire financial system on December 1.

In fact, the recent hiccup in the Santa Claus rally, from which the market has largely recovered, may have resulted from a reduction in the financial system’s liquidity brought about by, wait for it, the rally in bonds. According to reports, the speed with which the bond rally developed put a squeeze on Wall Street’s money lending machine (the repo market), whose money powder keg was squeezed by the Fed’s QT maneuvers, which led to the huge backup in bond yields.

The whole thing is so bizarre that it took me several reviews of multiple sources to put it together. But here is the simplified version. The Fed’s “higher for longer” mantra and its QT (removal of liquidity from the system), via the sale of treasury bonds, drained Wall Street’s piggy bank for borrowed money, leaving it with less funds than would normally be required further finance the rally in stocks and bonds.

Translation: we had a mini liquidity crisis as Wall Street ran out of money to lend for a couple of days. Stay with me, please. You just can’t make this stuff up.

When the U.S. Treasury Note yield (TNX) was rising to 5% (May to October 2023), spurred by the Fed’s QT and the panicked sellers who joined them in selling bonds, it squeezed the liquidity in the financial system. Thus, even though there was plenty of interest in buying stocks and bonds when sentiment turned, there wasn’t enough reserve money available in Wall Street’s loan machine to lend to hungry traders – the proverbial air pocket.

The visual evidence for the hiccup was the December 1, 2023 bump in the Secured Overnight Trading Rate (SOFR), which is best seen in the Zoom thumbnail to the right of the price chart.

As a result, those who got caught off guard and who ended up playing catchup after they missed the rally in stocks and bonds, which I predicted here way back in October, suddenly found themselves with limited supplies of money to borrow in order to trade the reversal. SOFR is back in sync with the Fed Funds rate now. But yeah, that was an interesting development for sure.

Bond Yields Pause, Mortgages Continue Bullish Decline

So where are we now? SOFR seems to be back in sync with the Fed Funds rate, which is why the stock market has resumed its rally. On the other hand, the U.S. Ten Year Note yield (TNX) has come a long way in a short period of time, which means we can expect it to back up some in the short term.

Indeed, a pause in TNX’s decline could last for the next couple of weeks as the CPI and PPI numbers are released and the Fed meets on December 12-13. Keep an eye on the 4.25-4.4% yield range, as any move above that key zone could trip some algo-selling in stocks and bonds.

Mortgage rates have dropped. A breach below 7% on the average mortgage could well take mortgages to 6.8%, where they will test the 50-day moving average for this series.

Consequently, homebuilder stocks, as in the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB), have broken out to new highs, spurred by the bullish beat of earnings expectations and outlook from Toll Brothers (TOL), which I own and recommended in October, 30% below the 12/2/23 closing price.

The long-term fundamentals of supply and demand remain in favor of the homebuilders and related sectors. For the next move in the homebuilders and other important market sectors, join the smart money at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com FREE with a two-week trial subscription.

For more on homebuilder stocks and real estate stock analysis, click here.   

Interesting Emerging Sectors

Lately, I’ve focused on value investing, as I did in my recent Your Daily Five video, which you can catch here. As it happens, the trend seems to be expanding into sectors which are well off the radar for many investors. Comparing the action in the S&P 500 Citigroup Pure Growth Index (SPXPG) to the trend in the S&P 500 Citigroup Pure Growth Index (SPXPV) index, you can see the dynamic playing out.

One of the most unlikely areas of the market which has benefited from the value trend is the transport sector, where the difficulties being faced by trucking companies are gathering the headlines, but other subsectors are reaping the rewards.

You can see this in the action for the SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN), which has quietly crossed above its 200-day moving average and which looks poised to make a run at its old highs near the high 80s, barring negative developments.

Market Breadth Recovers Post-Liquidity Squeeze

The NYSE Advance Decline line (NYAD) remains in bullish territory, trading above its 50- and 200-day moving averages. This may be slowed in the short-term, as the RSI indicator is nearing an overbought level. But even with a slower rate of climb than NYAD’s, the market’s breadth is holding up.

The Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) is inching above 16,000. And with the Bollinger Bands starting to squeeze around prices, it looks as if a big move is just around the corner. Both ADI and OBV are flattening out as profit-taking increases.

The S&P 500 (SPX) remained above 4500 and looks poised to move above 4600. This is not surprising, as many value stocks continue to push SPX higher.

VIX Remains Below 20

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) remained below 20. This is bullish.

A rising VIX means traders are buying large volumes of put options. Rising put option volume from leads market makers to sell stock index futures, hedging their risk. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying. This causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures, raising the odds of higher stock prices.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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#Santa #Rally #Stumbled #QQQ #Sets #Big #Move #Careful

With the Fed on Hold, Santa Just Revved Up the Sled; Think Value

The Santa Claus rally has left the station and is barreling down the tracks, as the Federal Reserve is on hold. 

Before I took a week off from writing this column for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wrote: “Regular readers of this column were not surprised by the rally, given the multiple alerts I posted noting the likelihood of a meaningful market bottom emerging due to the extraordinary technical picture which had developed in the bond market, and the ensuing gloom and doom in stocks as early as September 2023. And although there are no guarantees, the ongoing rally in both stocks and bonds has a great chance of continuing, due to the bullish seasonality which kicks into high gear with the traditional Thanksgiving rally.”

Here’s why we’re rallying. At least three voting members of the FOMC, including Chairman Powell, have made the following clear:

  • No easing in in the cards for now;
  • The Fed is prepared to tighten further if needed; but
  • Unless inflation data worsens, the interest rate hiking cycle is likely over.

All of which adds up to stocks moving higher in the short term, unless something bad happens that derails the bullish sentiment; think CPI, PPI, and the FOMC meeting, which are all approaching. Moreover, there is some evidence that overbought sectors of the market, such as technology, are starting to struggle, which means that some sort of sector rotation is well overdue.

So far, so good; but what’s next?

Bond Yields and Mortgages Continue Bullish Decline

The first part of the answer to the above question lies in the bond market, where rates continue to fall and seem headed lower at a rapid clip. The U.S. Ten Year Note yield (TNX) is now well below 4.5% and its 50-day moving average. Moreover, it just broke below the 4.3%-4.4% support area, and looks headed for 4%.

Even more impressive is the move down in mortgage rates (MORTGAGE), which looks set to test the 7% area and may move as low as 6.8%, the 50-day moving average for this series.

As expected, amongst the major beneficiaries of the lower interest rates have been the homebuilders, as reflected in the recent price action for the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB), which broke out to a new high on the latest decline in TNX.

In addition, the long-term fundamentals of supply and demand in the housing market remain in favor of the homebuilders and related sectors. These include real estate investment trusts (REITs), which specialize in home rentals and related businesses.

You can see the bullish influence of lower interest rates on Nuveen Short Term REIT ETF (NURE) which is now testing its 200-day moving average. This ETF specializes in rental properties. A move above $30 in REZ is likely to deliver higher prices.

Sector Rotation is Likely

The REIT sector is certainly a place where value investors can find excellent ways to put money to work. But it’s not the only area that has been overlooked by the market lately, and which should benefit from a sector rotation.

Over the last few weeks in this space, I’ve been focusing on value investing, a topic in which I recently expanded in my latest Your Daily Five video, which you can catch here. That’s because growth stocks have become overbought and are due for a pause, while there are still plenty of investors and money managers who missed the October bottom and are being forced to play catchup before the year ends.

You can see this dynamic playing out by comparing the action in the S&P 500 Citigroup Pure Growth Index (SPXPG) to the trend in the S&P 500 Citigroup Pure Growth Index (SPXPV) index.

The growth index has been trading ahead of the value index for the past several weeks, but is now struggling near the 15800 chart point. Meanwhile, the value index has extended its move with greater momentum. You can appreciate the differences in the strengths of the move via the Pure Price Momentum indicators (PMO) for both where the PMO for SPXPV is much stronger.

All of this suggests that the next leg up in the market, barring something bad happening, will likely be led by value stocks.

For more on homebuilder stocks, click here.

The Unloved Energy Sector

After the amazing summer rally in the oil markets, things have cooled off dramatically. At the center of the decline in crude and the fossil fuel sector has been an oversupply of product. On the one hand, higher well efficiency in the U.S. shale sector has increased supply. On the other hand, as usual, OPEC + has not fully stuck to its highly publicized production cuts.

Yet the recent collapse in the clean energy stocks puts a different emphasis on the traditional energy sector, which is why it’s worth looking at the action in the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE), where big oil and gas companies are aggregated.

What stands out the most is that even as crude oil prices (WTIC) have come well off their recent top, XLE’s decline has been a lot gentler. In fact, XLE is still trading above its 200-day moving average, which puts it technically in a bullish trend. In addition, the ETF is starting to show signs of moving away (to the upside) from a large VBP bar near $85. Above, there is more resistance from the 50-day moving average and a cluster of VBP bars all the way to $89.

Nevertheless, with components such as BP Plc (BP) trading at seven times earnings while yielding 4.81%, you have to wonder how long before value investors come a-knocking at the door of this sector.

Aside from recommending multiple big winners in the homebuilder and technology sectors, I recently recommended an energy stock which likely to move decidedly higher regardless of what the price of oil does. Join the smart money at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com, where you can have access to this ETF and a wide variety of bullish stock picks FREE with a two week trial subscription

Market Breadth is Now Bullish

The NYSE Advance Decline line (NYAD) is back in bullish territory, coursing above its 50- and 200-day moving averages. So, while there is improvement, we don’t have a definitively bullish long-term signal for the market’s trend, yet. If there is a downside, it’s that the RSI indicator is nearing an overbought situation. However, at this stage of the rally, NYAD’s rate of climb may slow, but does not look as if it will fully reverse in the short term.

The Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) looks a bit tired and needs a rest. The index has struggled to move above 16,000. Both ADI and OBV are flattening out as profit-taking increases.

The S&P 500 (SPX) remained above 4500 and could well move above 4600. This is not surprising, as many value stocks are now pushing SPX higher.

VIX is Back Below 20

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) continues to fall, closing below 15 last week. This is bullish.

A rising VIX means traders are buying large volumes of put options. Rising put option volume from leads market makers to sell stock index futures, hedging their risk. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying. This causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures, raising the odds of higher stock prices.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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In Bullish Trends, Seek Value and Momentum; Three Sectors to Watch as Year-End Rally Progresses

The combination of a pause in the Fed’s rate hikes and strong year-end seasonal tendencies have created an opportunity for investors to end the year on a positive note. The fly in the ointment, in the short term, could be a bad set of readings on the upcoming Consumer (CPI) and Producer (PPI) price gauges. Aside from that, the negative sentiment on Wall Street is still thick enough to push prices higher.

As I noted last week, “The stock market seems to have bottomed, as short sellers panicked and recently frightened buyers rushed back into the markets. It’s about time, as the signs of a pending reversal have been in place for the past two months, namely a slowing economy and fears about the Fed’s rate hike cycle, which have been mounting as investor’s pessimism rose to a fever pitch.”

On the other hand, Fed Chairman Powell proved once again that a few words can kill any rally, when he noted the central bank was “not confident” that inflation was fully vanquished on 11/9/23 and stocks sank. Whether that was just tough talk or a sign that he knows what the CPI and PPI numbers will show is anyone’s guess. Thankfully, the market recovered, although, as I discuss below, breadth remains weaker than one would hope for.

That said, there is no substitute for being prepared for any eventuality. For now, the trend is bullish, so here are three groups that should move higher, barring any unpleasant surprises.

It’s What’s Inside That Matters; Three Sectors Worth Watching as the Year End Rally Develops

Most investors focus on areas of the market which are exhibiting strength. That’s because, in bull markets, strength usually leads to further strength. This, of course, is the essence of momentum investing.

At the same time, it’s also useful to review the action in weak sectors, as underperformers are often future areas of value. Moreover, it’s important to know what you’re buying. Here is what I mean.

The software sector encompasses a wide swath of companies ranging from security companies to app developers, along with those in the increasingly popular AI sector. With so many companies, it’s often more practical to buy into a diversified portfolio, such as an ETF.

One such ETF is the Invesco Dynamic Software ETF (IGPT), recently renamed Invesco AI and Next Gen Software ETF, which is closing in on what could be a major breakout. But don’t let the title fool you; this ETF holds the usual large-cap tech stocks that typically rally when the tech sector moves into a rising trend, such as what is currently developing and is evident in the price chart for the Invesco QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ). QQQ holds many of the same companies, but currently trades at ten times the price of IGPT.

So, you can pay ten times more for QQQ, or get the same general market exposure via IGPT for a fraction of the price. Consider that IGPT is currently trading below $40 per share, which means you can own shares in Meta (META), Alphabet (GOOGL), Adobe (ADBE), and even NVDIA (NVDA) for a fraction of the price of each of these blue chips.

And here’s what the price chart is telling us regarding IGPT:

  • The ETF is back in bullish territory, as it just crossed above its 200-day moving average;
  • Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) is moving higher after a recent consolidation as short sellers leave the scene;
  • On Balance Volume (OBV) is in an established uptrend, as buyers come in; and
  • A move above $36 will likely take this ETF higher, as long as the bullish trend in the technology sector remains in place.

Another bullish sector which remains undervalued is the uranium mining sector, as in the Global X Uranium ETF (URA), in which I own shares and which is a core holding at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com. Nuclear power is slowly becoming an option for areas of the world which are trying to find a compromise between clean fuels and reliable power generation.

URA’s appeal has been boosted by the demise of the renewable power sector over the last few months, due to the expense burden and supply chain challenges required to build wind turbines. Note the difference in the performance of URA versus the First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy ETF (FAN).

For one, URA is in a bullish consolidation pattern after its recent breakout. Note the excellent support at $26, where the 50-day moving average and a large Volume-by-Price (VBP) bar continue to attract buyers. Moreover, note the bullish uptrend in OBV as buyers sneak into the shares.

Certainly, FAN is in a consolidation pattern of its own after its recent collapse. Note, however, that neither ADI or OBV have turned up yet, which means that there is currently little interest in these shares from bullish investors. On the other hand, from a contrarian standpoint, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on this ETF as the cycle works itself out. All it would take for this sector to bottom out would be something like a large infusion of government cash, such as what may be materializing in Europe, according to reports.

I recently recommended an ETF which is now breaking out in a big way. Join the smart money at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com, where you can have access to this ETF and a wide variety of bullish stock picks FREE with a two-week trial subscription.

Bonds Retain Bullish Tone Ahead of Inflation Numbers

As I noted last week, bond yields have made at least a short-term top. In fact, just three weeks ago, the U.S. Ten Year note yield (TNX) hit the 5% point, an event that unhinged both stock and bond traders.

Since then, things have quieted down and TNX has settled into a trading range, with 4.5% and the 50-day moving average as the floor.

If the inflation numbers are bullish, and TNX breaks below 4.5%, expect a big move up in stocks.

Keep an eye on the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB), specially the $78-$80 area. If CPI and PPI are bullish and bond yields fall, XHB should rise as short sellers get squeezed. Note the improvement in ADI, as the shorts cover their bets, while OBV is still holding steady, as buyers remain patient.

I’ve recently posted several detailed articles on mortgage rates, bonds, and homebuilders at my Buy Me a Coffee page. You can access them here. For the perfect price chart set up, check out my latest Your Daily Five video here.

Market Breadth Lags Rally as Indexes Outperform

The NYSE Advance Decline line (NYAD) has bottomed out, but has yet to cross above its 50- or 200-day moving averages. So, for now, NYAD is neutral to slightly positive. If it doesn’t show a bit more pop in the next few weeks, it may signal that the rally will have short legs.

In contrast, the Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) is nearing a breakout after rallying above its 50-day moving average. Both ADI and OBV turned higher as short sellers cover (ADI) and buyers move in (OBV). A move above 15,800-16,000 would likely extend the rally further.

The S&P 500 (SPX) is also lagging NDX, but has delivered a minor breakout above 4400. SPX is well above its 200-day moving average, returning to bullish territory after its recent dip below 4150. Moreover, it has now survived a test of the 4350 support area.

VIX is Back Below 20

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is well below 20. This is bullish.

A rising VIX means traders are buying large volumes of put options. Rising put option volume from leads market makers to sell stock index futures, hedging their risk. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying. This causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures, raising the odds of higher stock prices.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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#Bullish #Trends #Seek #Momentum #Sectors #Watch #YearEnd #Rally #Progresses

Santa May Be Warming Up His Sled; What’s Next? Watch the Fed and the Bond Market

The traditional year-end rally may have started with last week’s liftoff on Wall Street, as the Fed’s rate hikes start to bite and the economy shows signs of slowing. Investors hope the economy slows just enough to reduce inflation.

The stock market seems to have bottomed, as short sellers panicked and recently frightened buyers rushed back into the markets. It’s about time, as the signs of a pending reversal have been in place for the past two months, namely a slowing economy and fears about the Fed’s rate hike cycle, which have been mounting as investor’s pessimism rose to a fever pitch. Moreover, the self-perpetuating talk of doom loops led to a bout of panic selling, which reversed as the Fed held rates steady and Friday’s employment report showed a cooling in the labor market.

Of course, there are no certainties in any market. And this rally could easily fizzle. But the longer stocks hold up and bond yields remain subdued, the higher the odds of the rally intensifying.

Buckle up! Santa may be warming up his sled.

The Signs Were There

I’ve been expecting a major reversal in both bonds and stocks since September when the selling in the U.S. Treasury market, and the subsequent rise in yields entered an absurd trading pattern. I chronicled the entire process, including the likelihood of a pending reversal in bond yields on October 15, 2023, when I wrote:

“The slightly-hotter-than-predicted PPI and CPI numbers certainly put a temporary damper on the recent short-covering rally in stocks and bonds, raising investor fears about further interest rate increases. But, as I’ve noted recently, fear is often the prelude to a buying opportunity. Such an opportunity may be developing in the U.S. Treasury Bond market and related interest-sensitive sectors of the stock market, such as homebuilders, real estate investment trusts, and select technology stocks.”

Prior to that, I had suggested that a historic buying opportunity in homebuilder stocks was approaching, while providing an actionable trading plan for such a development here.

Last week, in this space, I wrote: “The stock market is increasingly oversold, so investors should prepare for a potential bounce before the end of the year, especially given the usual bullish seasonality which begins in November and can run through January.”

Bond Yields Crash and Burn and Stocks Respond with Bullish Reversal and Broad Rally

What a difference a week makes, especially in the strange world of the U.S. Treasury bond market. Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Ten Year note yield (TNX) tagged 5%, a chart point which triggered heavy selling in stocks from the mechanical trading crowd, also known as commodity trading advisors (CTAs) and their hedge fund brethren. The selling was further enhanced by headlines about mortgage rates moving above 8%.

But as I noted here, the selling spree had the smell of panic, especially given the lack of a new low in the RSI indicator, when the New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line (NYAD), as I describe below, made a lower low. The key was whether NYAD broke below its March lows, which it didn’t. This provided the perfect setup for a massive short squeeze, which is currently unfolding.

Here are some details. The U.S. Ten Year Note yield has rolled over, with two significant technical developments occurring:

  • TNX is now trading inside the upper Bollinger Band, which is two standard deviations above its 200-day moving average. This marks a return to a “normal” trading pattern;
  • It is also testing its 50-day moving average and the 4.5% yield area. Normal trading action suggests that a consolidation in this area should occur before TNX makes a move toward 4.3%; and
  • Bullishly for the homebuilder and housing-related real estate stocks, as well as the rest of the market, mortgage rates seem to have topped out as well.

Moreover, as I discuss below, the rally seems be quite broad, as measured by the New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line. In addition, money is moving back into large-cap technology stocks, as in the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ), which also rebounded above its 50-day moving average. Especially encouraging on this price chart is the rally in On Balance Volume (OBV), which signals that the rally is being fueled by real buying along with short-covering, as evidenced by a rising ADI line.

Big tech certainly got a boost, as Microsoft (MSFT) continued its recent climb and is approaching a potential breakout which, if left unhindered, could well take the stock to the $400 area in the next few weeks.

But it’s not just big tech that’s rising. A less obvious member of the QQQ stable, food producer and packager Mondelez (MDLZ), has been quietly moving higher and is now approaching its 200-day moving average. MDLZ’s On Balance Volume (OBV) line is rising nicely as money piles into the shares.

Huge Potential Gains Lurk in Homebuilders

Even better is the unfolding rebound above the 200-day moving average in the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB), where OBV is exhibiting an equally bullish trading pattern. As I noted above, I issued a Buy alert on the homebuilders a few weeks ago, and thus subscribers to my service have been well-positioned for this move in the sector.

Consequently, the rally in the homebuilders may just be starting, especially if interest rates don’t rise dramatically from current levels. As the price chart above shows, mortgage rates may have topped out, along with bond yields. This reversal is already being reflected in the bullish action visible in the homebuilder stocks. Note the following:

  • Rates are still trading above normal long term trends. 
  • The upper purple line on the chart is two standard deviations above the 200-day moving average.
  • Since mortgage rates follow the trend in TNX (above), the odds favor a further decline in mortgage rates, with the first downside target being 6.5%.

Note the nearly perfect correlation between falling bond yields (TNX), falling mortgage rates, and rising homebuilder stocks (SPHB).

Join the smart money at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com. You can have a look at my latest recommendations FREE with a two-week trial subscription. And for frequent updates on real estate and housing, click here.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for the perfect price chart set up, check out my latest YD5 video, where I detail one of my favorite bullish setups. This video will prepare you for the next phase in the market. 

Market Breadth Reverses Bearish Trend

The NYSE Advance Decline line (NYAD) did not remain below is March lows for long, and has now nearly fully reversed its bearish trend as it approaches its 200-day moving average. The price chart below shows the similarity between the unfolding market bottom and that which occurred in October 2022. The circled areas highlight this super cool technical phenomenon where the lack of a new low in the RSI, when NYAD made a new low, marked the bottom. Also note the double top in VIX, which is also repeated.

The Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) rallied above its 50-day moving average, with both ADI and OBV turning higher as short sellers cover (ADI) and buyers move in (OBV).

The S&P 500 (SPX) also rebounded above its 200-day moving average, returning to bullish territory after its recent dip below 4150.

VIX is Back Below 20

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) didn’t stay above the 20 level for long, which is a bullish development.

When the VIX rises, stocks tend to fall, as rising put volume is a sign that market makers are selling stock index futures to hedge their put sales to the public. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying, which causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures. This raises the odds of higher stock prices.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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Follow the Smart Money; Technology and Homebuilder Stocks Loved Last Week’s Reversal in Bond Yields

The fear on Wall Street is rising to a fever pitch, as put option buyers recently accelerated their bets against the market while sentiment surveys reached levels of bearishness not seen since last October. As I’ve noted recently, fear is often the prelude to a tradable bounce. When fear runs high, it pays to follow the smart money, which is starting to flow back into stocks.

Fear is Reaching Extreme Levels

With so much fear among investors, stocks have now entered a familiar type of uncomfortable period; specifically, the type where even though the market is oversold, investors continue to fret and sell stocks in panic, as worries of higher interest rates continue to rise. The CBOE Put/Call ratio reading of 1.60 on 10/4/23 and the recent reading of 17 on the CNN Greed-Fear index are both bullish from a contrarian standpoint.

Of course, oversold markets can stay oversold for longer than anyone expects. Yet as long as the market does not make new lows, the odds of a tradable bottom building continue to rise. On the other hand, there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and that light is not an oncoming train. A sustained top and a subsequent retracement in bond yields will likely trigger a rebound in stocks.

Here’s the laundry list of worries:

  • The Fed continues to push for higher interest rates;
  • The market’s breadth has broken down; and
  • Bond yields remain near multi-year highs.

Yet that may all change rather quickly, as the market’s breadth is showing signs of recovery and bond yields are looking a bit top-heavy. Moreover, it looks as if bargain hunters are moving into two key areas of the market.  

Smart Money Sneaks into Tech Stocks

It wasn’t long ago that Wall Street realized that AI stocks had risen too far too fast, and we saw a breakdown in the entire technology sector. Yet, money is quietly moving back into many of the same stocks that broke down when the so-called “AI bubble” burst in August.

The Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) is heavily weighted toward a handful of large-cap tech stocks, including Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOGL). And while it’s still early in what could be a bumpy recovery for the market, given the Fed’s continuing talk of “higher for longer” interest rates, QQQ, which often bottoms out before the rest of the market, may have already made its lows for the current pullback. At this point, the $350 area seems to be decent support, while $370 is the key short-term resistance level. Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV) are both improving as short sellers leave (ADI) and buyers start moving in (OBV).

A perfect example of the quiet flow of smart money can be seen in shares of Alphabet, which has remained in an uptrend throughout the recent market decline and is now within reach of breaking out.

Bond Yields Are Now Totally Crazy

Much to the chagrin of regular readers, I remain fixated on the action in the bond market. That’s because, if you haven’t noticed, stocks are trading in a direct inverse lock step to bond yields. In other words, rising bond yields lead to falling stock prices and vice-versa. You can thank the robot trader farms for that.

Recently, I’ve noted the U.S. Ten Year Treasury Note (TNX) yield has been trading well above its normal trading range. Specifically, TNX has been above the upper Bollinger Band corresponding to its 200-day moving average since August 11, 2022, except for a small dip back inside the band. As I noted in my recent video on Bollinger Bands, this is a very abnormal trading pattern, which usually precedes a meaningful reversal.

Indeed, something may be happening, and we may be in the early stages of the reversal I’ve been expecting. On 10/6/23, we saw an intraday downturn in TNX after what was initially seen as a bearish jobs report delivered an early rise in yields which took TNX to 4.9%.

The above chart shows that bond yields reached a greater extreme reading recently, as TNX closed three standard deviations above its 200-day moving average on 10/2/23 and 10/6/23 (red line at top of chart), expanding the distortion in the market and likely raising the odds of bond yields reversing their recent climb. Rising bond yields have led to rising mortgage rates and weakness the homebuilder stocks, which as I recently noted to subscribers of JoeDuarteInTheMoneyOptions.com and members of my Buy Me a Coffee page here, may be poised for a rebound.

As the chart below shows, rates (MORTGAGE) have skyrocketed in what looks to be an unsustainable move.

Such a move would be expected to trip a major selloff in the homebuilder stocks. But what we saw was the opposite, as the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) is starting to put in a bottom as bond yields look set to roll over.

The take-home message is that homebuilder stocks are now marching in lockstep to the tune of the bond market. Once bond yields fully reverse, the odds favor a nice move up in homebuilder stocks.

Prepare for the next phase in the market. Join the smart money at JoeDuarteInTheMoneyOptions.com where I have just added five homebuilder stocks to the model portfolios. You can have a look at my latest recommendations FREE with a two week trial subscription. For frequent updates on real estate and housing, click here.

The Market’s Breadth Shows Signs of Stabilizing

The NYSE Advance Decline line (NYAD) fell below its 200-day moving average last week, but cemented its oversold status based on its most recent RSI reading near 30. Of some comfort is that the fledgling bottom in NYAD is developing near its recent March and May bottoms.

The Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) has survived multiple tests of the 14500-15000 support area. ADI and OBV are both bouncing, which means short covering (ADI) and buying (OBV) are occurring simultaneously.

The S&P 500 (SPX) found support just below 4250 and looks set to test the resistance levels near the 20 and 50-day moving averages in the near future. ADI is rising as short sellers cover their positions. If OBV turns up, it will be even more bullish.

VIX Remains Below 20

As it has done for the past few weeks during which the market has corrected, VIX has remained stubbornly below the 20 area. A move above 20 would be very negative.

When the VIX rises, stocks tend to fall, as rising put volume is a sign that market makers are selling stock index futures to hedge their put sales to the public. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying, which causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures. This raises the odds of higher stock prices.

Liquidity Continues to Tighten

Liquidity is tightening. The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), is an approximate sign of the market’s liquidity. It remains near its recent high in response to the Fed’s move and the rise in bond yields. A move below 5.0 would be bullish. A move above 5.5% would signal that monetary conditions are tightening beyond the Fed’s intentions, which would be very bearish.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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#Follow #Smart #Money #Technology #Homebuilder #Stocks #Loved #Weeks #Reversal #Bond #Yields

Market Breadth Continues Recovery; Watching the NVDA Effect on QQQ as Oil Heats Up

The dog days of August are mercifully over. And as Wall Street gets back to work, new trends are emerging which could influence what the stock market does for the rest of the year.

Here are the macro crosscurrents to sort through:

  • The Fed is on the bubble as some Fed governors want to pause the rate hikes, while others want to push rates higher;
  • The jobs market seems to be cooling;
  • The bond market is focused on inflation, but is off its worse levels as it ponders what the Fed will do next, whether the job market is going to get weaker, and whether the price of oil will upset the apple cart;
  • Stocks are working on putting in a credible bottom; and
  • The oil market looks set to erupt.

Altogether, these variables suggest the fourth quarter has the potential to be a potentially profitable quarter for investors who can discern where the smart money is flowing and successfully follow it.

Bond Volatility Increases as Data Shifts Rapidly

The bond market’s inflation fears eased over the last few weeks ,but the most recent round of purchasing manager data (ISM and PMI), suggesting festering inflation in the manufacturing sector, erased the glee generated by the apparent cooling of the jobs market via lower-than-expected JOLTS and ADP data, which was boosted by the rise in the unemployment rate and a tame payrolls report.

The U.S. Ten Year Note Yield (TNX) reversed its downward move toward 4% in response to the purchasing manager’s data, which was interpreted as a picture of stagflation. The yield is nervously trading between its 20- and 50-day moving averages.

Smart Money Roundup: Watching NVDA Effect on QQQ

Calls for the death of the so-called AI bubble may have been premature, although the jury is still out for the sector in the short-term. Certainly, the action in AI bellwether Nvidia’s shares (NVDA) is an important metric to keep an eye on.

The stock’s recent volatility suggests that investors are thinking about what comes next, although the company continues with its bullish guidance. On the other hand, the slowly developing downslope in the Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) line is cautionary, as it suggests short sellers are starting to bet on lower prices for the stock.  

On Balance Volume (OBV) is in better shape, which suggests that a sideways pattern or a steady uptrend is the most likely path for the stock after the consolidation. You can see the NVDA effect reflected in the shares of the Invesco Nasdaq 100 Trust (QQQ) which is also consolidating. Support for QQQ is at $370.

Oil is Getting Hot

Tech is consolidating, but the smart money is moving into oil. You can see that in the bullish breakout of West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTIC), which is now above $85. Recall my May 2023 article, titled “Never Short a Dull Market,”, where I predicted that tight oil supplies were in the works and that the odds of higher prices were better than even.

And that’s exactly what’s happened. In the last three weeks, the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) has reported a nearly 30 million barrel drawdown in U.S. oil inventories. Moreover, there are two coincident developments unfolding, which are likely to further decrease supplies:

  • OPEC + is likely to maintain its current production cuts in place for at least another month; and
  • The U.S. is quietly refilling its Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

These two factors, combined with stable-to-possibly-rising consumer demand for gasoline, and perhaps a rise in demand for heating oil as the weather turns cooler, are likely to keep prices on an upward trajectory for the next few weeks to months, and perhaps longer.

Expressed in more investor-accessible terms, you can see the shares of the U.S. Oil Fund ETF (USO) have broken out above the $75 resistance level, with excellent confirmation from a rise in the Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV) indicators as short sellers step aside (ADI) and buyers move in (OBV).

The bullish sentiment in oil also includes the oil stocks including the Van Eck Oil Services ETF (OIH), which is nearing its own breakout. This is due to the rise in global exploration, which has been steadily developing over the last twelve months, but which the market has mostly ignored, despite CEO comments of an oil service “super cycle” unfolding.

Things are happening fast. Oil, tech, housing, bonds, are all making their move. What’s your plan of action in this market? Join the smart money at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com. You can have a look at my latest recommendations FREE with a two week trial subscription. You can also review the supply demand balance in the oil market and what the future may hold here. And if you’re a Tesla (TSLA) fan, I’m reviewing some interesting developments in the stock, which you can review free of charge here.

Breadth Recovery Shows Staying Power

Last week, I noted the worst may be over in the short term for stocks, as the market’s breadth is showing signs of resilience. This bullish trend is showing some staying power, as the New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line moved above its 50-day moving average while maintaining its position above the 200-day moving averages. Another bullish sign is that RSI is nowhere near overbought, which means the rally still has legs.

On the other hand, the Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) ran into resistance at the 15,600 area, where there is a moderate size cluster of Volume-by-Price bars (VBP) offering a bit of turbulence, as investors who bought the recent top are trying to get out “even”. Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV), may have bottomed out, but are showing some short-term weakness.

The S&P 500 (SPX) is acting in a similar way, although it remained above 4500, but above 4350, and it its 20-day and its 50-day moving averages. ADI is flat, but OBV is improving as investors put money to work in the oil and related sectors.

VIX Remains Below 20

VIX has been a bright point in the market for the last couple of weeks, as it has failed to rally above the 20 area. This is good news, as a move above 20 would be very negative, signaling that the big money is finally throwing in the towel on the uptrend.

When the VIX rises, stocks tend to fall, as rising put volume is a sign that market makers are selling stock index futures to hedge their put sales to the public. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying, which causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures. This raises the odds of higher stock prices.

Liquidity Remains Stable

Liquidity is stable. The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), which recently replaced the Eurodollar Index (XED) but is an approximate sign of the market’s liquidity, just broke to a new high in response to the Fed’s move. A move below 5.0 would be more bullish. A move above 5.5% would signal that monetary conditions are tightening beyond the Fed’s intentions; that would be very bearish.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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Bonds Toy with Secular Bear Market — Was That the Top in Housing Stocks? Maybe Yes, Maybe No.

The market’s worsening breadth and the lack of a robust bounce on 8/18/23, even as bond yields reversed course after their runaway freight train climb during the week, is worrisome.

On the other hand, the market’s sentiment is souring rapidly, and oversold gauges are closing in on traditional bounce territory. Consider this:

  • CBOE Put/Call Ratio hit 1.25 on 8/16 – the highest reading in eight months;
  • The CNN Greed Fear Index hit 46 (neutral) on 8/18/23 – a month ago it was at 83 (extreme greed). Readings below 40 signal excessive greed in the market;
  • RSI for the S&P 500 (SPX) is at 34, just shy of the critical 30 oversold reading; and 
  • The New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line (NYAD, see below) closed outside its lower Bollinger Band for the fourth straight day – this is as oversold as it gets.

Thus, with rising pessimism and with the market nearing an oversold level, the key to what happens next depends on what type of bounce we see in the next few days. If there is no real strength in the bounce, we may see a renewal of the downtrend.

Bonds Test Secular Bear Market Boundaries

The U.S. Ten Year Note yield (TNX) recently tested the 4.30% yield area, its highest point since late 2022, before turning lower. If TNX breaches this key chart point, bonds may have entered a secular bear market. That won’t be good for stocks.

The long-term chart for TNX shows that yields crossed a meaningful high point (3.25%) area in 2019 before re-entering a bullish phase, due to the pandemic raising the specter of a global depression.

Of course, history has shown that no such thing happened as global central banks hit the digital printing presses.

The U.S. recovered. The jury is still out for Europe. China remained closed too long. Foreign companies moved. Since China’s economy depends on foreign capital to fuel its manufacturing base, the exit of foreign companies resulted in a capital vacuum which is now affecting the Chinese property sector, as seen in the recent bankruptcy of the Evergrande Real Estate conglomerate, China’s largest developer.

Normally, this would be bullish news for U.S. Treasuries. Is this time different?

So Why are Bond Yields Rising?

The pandemic reversed globalization, as lockdowns had unintended consequences. Consider the following:

  • Companies moved out of China, taking capital out of the Chinese economy;
  • Construction of manufacturing plants and warehouses in the U.S. has increased; while
  • Supply chains have not fully adjusted.

New factories built in the U.S. are technology-focused: semiconductors, solar power technology, and electric car parts and batteries. A few factories make building materials, household appliances, furniture, cell phones, or internal combustion engine automobiles.

Ignored are food processing, medical product manufacturing, and other important areas. Normally, these items come from China. But China’s economy is slowing, and capital flight is making operations there difficult for both domestic and foreign companies, creating shortages of everyday products and raising prices. 

In the U.S., the skilled labor pool has shrunk. There aren’t enough people farming, making furniture, or processing meat. Those with those skills cost more. Meanwhile, companies looking to build factories in the U.S. are having trouble finding enough skilled construction workers, adding to rising costs and fueling inflation.

The U.S. government continues to pump money into the clean energy economy, flooding the economy with money just as the Fed is trying to tighten conditions. Too many dollars chasing too few goods – the most basic definition of inflation. Capital allocation is unbalanced and inefficient, compounding the problem. Thus, bond traders fear a squeeze in raw materials and skilled labor costs, and the related decreased production of necessary household goods.

In other words, the post-pandemic period is turning into one where inflation is becoming structural. If TNX moves above 4.3%, this notion will be all but confirmed.

Smart Money Update: Was that the Top in Housing Stocks?

We may have seen the top in the housing stocks, although the jury is still out on this. I’ve been bullish on homebuilders for quite a long time, but, unless something improves quickly, the best days for this group may be behind us.

The SPDR S&P Homebuilder crashed and burned on 8/17/23, slicing through its 50-day moving average like butter. Moreover, there was no real bounce to speak of on the next day, which is what’s usually happened in the past twelve months after heavy bouts of selling. Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV) both rolled over aggressively, both negative signs suggesting money is moving out in a hurry.

The key is if and how the sector bounces back. Still, the supply shortages in the housing market will resurface as the kindling required to reignite a rally in XHB. Meanwhile, money is decidedly finding a home in the energy sector, specifically in oil and oil service stocks (OIH).

Patient investors may eventually benefit from the uranium market, as nuclear power continues to slowly become a viable alternative in the search for clean energy sources in the face of the cuts in oil and natural gas production, as displayed in the accelerating downward path of the weekly oil rig count. There are now 136 fewer active rigs in the U.S. compared to the same period in 2022.

A sector, which is bullishly being ignored by many traders, is uranium. But the shares of the Global X Uranium ETF (URA) are under steady accumulation. I recently discussed how to spot the smart money’s footprints and how to turn them into profits. URA, in which I own shares, is featured in the video. You can get the full details here.

Do you own homebuilder stocks? What should you do with your energy holdings? Get answers at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com. You can have a look at my latest recommendations FREE with a two-week trial subscription. And for an in-depth review of the current situation in the oil market, homebuilders and REITS, click here.

Will NYAD Finally Bounce? NDX and SPX Approach Oversold Levels

Given the drubbing stocks took last week and the oversold reading on RSI for the New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line, you’d think we’d get a bigger bounce when bond yields turned lower on Friday. No such thing happened. That’s worrisome.

The long term trend for stocks remains up, but the short- and intermediate-term trends are in question, as NYAD remained below its 20-day and 50-day moving averages and may still be headed for a test of its 50-day, and perhaps the 200-day, moving average.

The Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) is very oversold after breaking below its 50-day moving average the 15,000 level. Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV), remain weak, as short sellers are active and sellers are overtaking buyers. Let’s see what type of bounce we get.

The S&P 500 (SPX) looks just as bad, remaining below 4500, its 20-day and its 50-day moving averages. Both ADI and OBV are negative. Support is now around the 4300 area.

VIX Remains Below 20

VIX rolled over at the end of last week without taking out the 20 level. This is good news. A move above 20 would be very negative as it would signal that the big money is finally throwing in the towel on the uptrend. 

When the VIX rises, stocks tend to fall, as rising put volume is a sign that market makers are selling stock index futures to hedge their put sales to the public. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying, which causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures. This raises the odds of higher stock prices.

Liquidity Remains Stable

Liquidity is stable, but may not remain so for long if the current fall in stock prices accelerates. The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), which recently replaced the Eurodollar Index (XED) but is an approximate sign of the market’s liquidity, just broke to a new high in response to the Fed’s move. A move below 5.0 would be more bullish. A move above 5.5% would signal that monetary conditions are tightening beyond the Fed’s intentions. That would be very bearish.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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The Smart Money Changes Gears; As Tech Weakens, New Leaders Appear

The Fed is flying trial balloons about the end of the interest rate hike cycle, but the technology sector is ignoring them as the smart money move to energy continues.

Last week, Philadelphia Fed Governor Patrick Harker, in a Philadelphia speech, suggested the central banks should pause their rate hikes. Moreover, even though the CPI inflation numbers were relatively tame, markets seemed to focus on the more negative details inside the report, such as persistently high rents and car insurance prices.

Interestingly, producer prices (PPI) rose as well, but much of the climb was due to an increase in fees by money managers – hardly a widespread expense as compared to gasoline and food. Meanwhile, consumer confidence is flat and inflation expectations are improving.

Still, money flows in bonds and stocks suggest otherwise. That’s not a good turn of events, if not reversed, especially when the Fed is trying to gauge the market’s response to a potential extended pause on its rate hikes.

As Tech Weakens, New Leaders Appear

Last week in this space, I noted “short sellers are starting to smell blood in the water in the tech sector.” This week, the evidence piled up further as the bloom is wearing off the AI rose, at least for now. You can see that sellers have gained the upper hand as the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) has broken below its 50-day moving average, as both Accumulation/Distribution (ADI, increasing short sales) and On Balance Volume (OBV, buyers turning into sellers) have also rolled lower.

But QQQ is not alone. A more focused picture of the selling in AI and robotics-related stocks can be seen in the shares of the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ROBO), which has fallen back to what may be long-term support near $54. If ROBO fails to hold in this general area, which features two very large Volume-by-Price bars (VBP) and the 200-day moving average as key markers, the decline will likely accelerate.

A stark example of how rising costs are impacting emerging technology companies was the collapse of solar tech company Maxeon Solar Technologies (MAXN), whose shares cratered after the company missed its earnings estimates and lowered forward guidance, citing “falling demand” for its products while partially blaming the situation on higher interest rates.

Meanwhile, shares of energy stocks, such as refiner Valero Energy (VLO), continue to power higher as the fuel supply and demand balance is steadily tipping toward the energy patch. This view is supported by the steady downward pace in the weekly oil rig count. There are now 125 fewer active rigs in the U.S. compared to the same period in 2022.

VLO is emerging above a stout resistance shelf, marked by a large cluster of Volume-by-Price (VBP) bars extending back to the $107 area. A move above $140 would likely lead to higher prices in a hurry. I recently discussed how to spot the smart money’s footprints and how to turn them into profits; you can check out the video here.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve asked whether it’s time to sell the tech rally. What should you do with your energy holdings? And what about the homebuilder stocks and the REITs? The answers are in the model portfolios at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com, updated weekly, and via Flash Alerts as needed. You can have a look at all of them and my latest recommendations on what to do with each individual pick FREE with a two week trial subscription. And, for an in-depth review of the current situation in the oil market, homebuilders and REITS, click here.

Bonds, Oil, and Stealth Inflation

The lack of enthusiasm from bond traders about the CPI numbers, quirky PPI numbers and a Fed governor suggesting the central bank may stop raising rates soon suggests there is more going on than meets the eye. The answer may be future inflation related to limited supplies of products and services, which are not likely to increase anytime soon, along with the unknowns about the future of global energy prices.

The U.S. Ten-Year Note yield (TNX) briefly dipped below 4% on the CPI news. But the rally didn’t last. And by week’s end, yields were once again moving toward the higher end of the trading range, which has been in place since October 2022.

More concerning is the lack of interest from bond traders regarding deflationary news from China a day earlier, which suggests the bond market is not a believer in the notion that inflation is slowing to the point where the Fed can stop raising rates.

In the present, you can blame their disbelief on the oil market, where volatile supply data and demand news, combined with ongoing reports that U.S. oil production is being curtailed, is moving prices higher.

Moreover, as evidenced by the action in MAXN, above, it’s becoming evident that the ongoing transfer from traditional energy to renewable energy will be more expensive than initially thought. All of which suggests that inflation is becoming stealthily embedded into the system. When you factor in the expected rise in U.S. Treasury bond issuance by the U.S. Treasury and the increasing budget deficits, the indifference from bond traders makes sense.

In other words, even though CPI may have slowed its gains for now, the bottoming of PPI may be a prelude to the near future. Thus, forward-looking bond traders may be considering future shortages of key minerals, the energy to fuel the transition to clean energy, and tight labor.

Specifically, along with poor demand for solar technology, the bond market may be quietly worried about the ongoing problems in the wind energy industry, where costs are reportedly out of control, to the tune of having climbed 20-40% since February 2022. Meanwhile, reports of major technical problems with turbines continue to plague the industry, while governments are beginning to evaluate how much more money they’re willing to put into subsidies.

NYAD Struggles, Major Indexes Extend Losses

The long-term trend for stocks remains up, but the short term is weakening further. The New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line (NYAD), has broken below its 20-day moving average and may be headed for a test of its 50-day, and perhaps the 200-day, moving averages.

The Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) has broken below its 50-day moving average and looks headed for a test of the 15,000 level. Accumulation/Distribution (ADI) and On Balance Volume (OBV), remain weak, as short sellers are active and sellers are overtaking buyers.

The S&P 500 (SPX) remained below 4500, and its 20-day moving average, as it approaches a test of its 50-day moving average. Both ADI and OBV are nowhere near uptrends. Support is now around the 4400 area.

VIX Struggles at 20

I’ve been expecting a move higher in VIX, and it seems to have arrived as the index finally moved above the key 15 resistance level. The good news is that the index has yet to break above 20. A move above 20 would be very negative, as it would signal that the big money is finally throwing in the towel on the uptrend.

When the VIX rises, stocks tend to fall, as rising put volume is a sign that market makers are selling stock index futures to hedge their put sales to the public. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying, which causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures. This raises the odds of higher stock prices.

Liquidity Remains Stable

Liquidity is stable, but may not remain so for long if the current fall in stock prices accelerates. The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), which recently replaced the Eurodollar Index (XED), but is an approximate sign of the market’s liquidity, just broke to a new high in response to the Fed’s move. A move below 5.0 would be more bullish. A move above 5.5% would signal that monetary conditions are tightening beyond the Fed’s intentions. That would be very bearish.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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#Smart #Money #Gears #Tech #Weakens #Leaders

Bullish Tidings: Breadth Rallies, Oil Service Makes its Move, Bonds Survive Yield Scare

Three weeks before the Fed’s next meeting, investors who have missed the AI/tech rally have thrown caution to the wind.

That urgency to catch up has led to an encouraging improvement in the market’s breadth and a marginal new high in the S&P 500 index ($SPX). The combination is likely setting the market up for what could be an impressive upward thrust. See below for full details.

And if June is any sign of what July may be, the bulls will rule the roost. Here are some grounding facts:

  • The S&P 500 index has returned an average of 3.3% in July from 2012–2022.
  • SPX rallied 9% in July 2022.

Of course, there are no guarantees that history will repeat itself. But it pays to be always ready. So, which sectors are likely to benefit? I have some thoughts just below.

Bond Yields Survive Yield Scare

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fed joined the other global central banks that have raised interest rates in the last few weeks. However, from a trading standpoint, the action in bonds is more important, as bond yields have largely disagreed with the Fed’s perception of the economy since late 2022.

What I mean, of course, is that even as the Fed raised interest rates after October 2022, bond yields have fallen since then, setting up a divergence.

Certainly, there has been some volatility in yields. For example, the 10-Year US Treasury Yield Index ($TNX) bounced higher on June 29, 2023, as a surprising upward revision of US GDP to the 2% growth rate raised the odds of a rate hike at the upcoming FMOC meeting in mid-July. Yet, the flattening out of the Fed’s favorite indicator, the PCE inflation gauge on June 20, 2023, calmed things down.

That leaves the resistance band between 3.6–3.85% as the area to monitor. If TNX rises above 3.85%, we may see a move toward 4%, which would be very negative for stocks, especially the interest rate-sensitive homebuilders and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The Fine Print in Housing Stats: Supply, Supply, Supply

As would be expected, as TNX flirted with 3.85%, there was a pullback in the homebuilder stocks. But as we’ve learned over the recent past, the correlation between the direction of bond yields and the action in the homebuilder stocks is nearly 100%. As a result, when bond yields, as I described above, hit resistance at 3.85% and turned lower, the homebuilder stocks regained their upward trend.  

Overall, the housing sector continues to deliver mixed news. For example:

  • New home sales recently rose—bullish for homebuilders.
  • Existing home sales are flattening out—neutral for brokers.
  • Pending home sales fell—not what you may be thinking.

The quiet part is all three stats above have two things in common—low supply and steady-to-rising demand. So new home sales are rising because builders are building enough of them to sell to enough people who are looking for housing. Existing home sales are flat because no one wants to sell a house with a 3% mortgage and buy a new one with a 6% mortgage. And, of course, if no one wants to sell their house, then you get a fall in pending home sales.

The bottom line remains unchanged. Low supply of steady demand favors the homebuilders.

Overall pending home sales fell 2.7% month to month. And if you’re wondering how each U.S. region fared in the pending home sales data here you go:

  • The Northeast delivered a 12.9% increase.
  • The South registered a 4.4% decrease.
  • The Midwest dropped by 5.3%.
  • The West’s sales dropped by 6.1% (a 62% decrease since 2001).

Moreover, the National Association of Realtors noted that there are still three pending offers per sale.

Mortgage rates ticked up last week, along with bond yields. Homebuilder stocks pulled back slightly before recovering. Several homebuilders will be reporting earnings in July, near the date of the Fed’s next meeting.

For an in-depth look at the news and trends in the housing and real estate market, check out my new publication, Joe Duarte’s Real Estate Weekly, here.  You’ll find crucial and detailed real estate market updates in an easy-to-follow and highly accessible format. This crucial information complements the stock picks at Joe Duarte in the Money Options.com. For more details on how to trade the bullish housing megatrend, check out my latest video here.

Oil Service Makes its Move

The bullish action in stocks on June 30 might be at least partially related to window dressing. That’s where portfolio managers who missed the rally play catch up to show their clients that they own stocks in groups that are rising. That means that the bullish action may or may not remain in some of the more extended market sectors, such as AI.

On the other hand, some portfolio managers use the cover of window dressing as a stealthy way to put money to work in sectors that offer value. As a result, while everyone is looking at the hot sectors, such as AI, it pays to look at sectors that have underperformed in the first half.

One of them is oil service. As the price chart illustrates, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index (OSX) shows some bullish characteristics. Note the broaching of the 200-day moving average after the recent double bottom it carved out over the last three months.

Moreover, its accompanying ETF, the Van Eck Vectors Oil Service ETF (OIH), looks even better. You can see that OIH has crossed above its 200-day moving average, marking what looks to be the start of a bullish reversal.

In addition, you can see that the Accumulation Distribution Line has begun to move higher as the On Balance Volume (OBV) indicator has bottomed out. Together, these two indicators confirm the emerging price trend in OIH as money moves in.

I have several oil service stocks in my Joe Duarte in the Money Options portfolios which are worth considering. One of them just broke out to a new high. You can check it out with a FREE trial to my service here.

NYAD Recovers and Gathers Upside Momentum

In a bullish development, the New York Stock Exchange Advance Decline line ($NYAD) turned on a dime last week and moved decidedly higher, breaking above short-term resistance. This comes after a short-lived dip below the 50-day moving average.

The Nasdaq 100 Index ($NDX) also turned around, finding support at its 20-day moving average. ADI and OBV have turned short-term negative.

The S&P 500 made a new high since the October bottom in stocks. As with NDX, SPX found support at its 20-day moving average. This is a bullish development. Both ADI and OBV stabilized.

VIX Is Likely to Bounce

After its recent new lows, the Cboe Volatility Index ($VIX) is poised to rise, as July often marks a bottom. On the other hand, VIX is at such a low level that it could take a while before the negative effects of a rising VIX affect the bullish action in stocks.

When the VIX rises, stocks tend to fall, as rising put volume is a sign that market makers are selling stock index futures to hedge their put sales to the public. A fall in VIX is bullish, as it means less put option buying, and it eventually leads to call buying, which causes market makers to hedge by buying stock index futures. This raises the odds of higher stock prices.


To get the latest information on options trading, check out Options Trading for Dummies, now in its 4th Edition—Get Your Copy Now! Now also available in Audible audiobook format!

#1 New Release on Options Trading!

Good news! I’ve made my NYAD-Complexity – Chaos chart (featured on my YD5 videos) and a few other favorites public. You can find them here.

Joe Duarte

In The Money Options


Joe Duarte is a former money manager, an active trader, and a widely recognized independent stock market analyst since 1987. He is author of eight investment books, including the best-selling Trading Options for Dummies, rated a TOP Options Book for 2018 by Benzinga.com and now in its third edition, plus The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book and six other trading books.

The Everything Investing in Your 20s and 30s Book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It has also been recommended as a Washington Post Color of Money Book of the Month.

To receive Joe’s exclusive stock, option and ETF recommendations, in your mailbox every week visit https://joeduarteinthemoneyoptions.com/secure/order_email.asp.

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#Bullish #Tidings #Breadth #Rallies #Oil #Service #Move #Bonds #Survive #Yield #Scare