Diverging Tails on This Relative Rotation Graph Unveil Trading Opportunities

KEY

TAKEAWAYS

  • Comparing equal-weighted and cap-weighted sectors on a Relative Rotation Graph can offer interesting insights
  • When the trajectory of the tails and their position on the chart differ significantly, further investigation is warranted
  • At the moment, two sectors are showing such divergences

All on the Same Track… or?

The difference between equal-weighted sectors and cap-weighted sectors is obvious. Namely, the cap-weighted variant is much heavier and is impacted by the changes in some heavy-weight, often mega-cap, stocks. Nevertheless, when you plot these sectors on Relative Rotation Graphs, you will often find that their tails generally move in the same direction and/or follow the same path.

When that does not happen, when the tails of the two versions of the same sector are on different paths or in completely different positions on the RRG, it’s time to investigate.

The RRG above shows the two universes, cap-weighted and equal-weighted, plotted on the same RRG and against SPY as the benchmark. Looking closely, you will find most sector pairs on the same trajectory. If you have a SC account, you can click on the graph, open the RRG in your own account, and do a closer inspection.

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Zooming In

To get a better handle and a clearer picture, I have removed the sectors where both tails are on similar trajectories and positions and only left the tails on the graph where they differ. As a result, two sectors remain: Consumer Discretionary and Communication Services.

Consumer Discretionary

Both tails are inside the lagging quadrant. However, that is as far as the comparison goes. XLY is moving higher on the RS-Momentum scale, indicating an improvement in relative momentum, while RSPD is moving lower and is on a negative RRG-Heading. Also, the tail on XLY is substantially longer than on RSPD, indicating the power behind the move.

Looking at the composition of the sector, it’s obvious which stocks inside Consumer Discretionary are causing the difference.

AMZN, TSLA, HD, and MCD comprise 50% of the index, while AMZN and TSLA are already 38%.

Looking at the performance over the last five weeks (tail length on the RRG), we can see how the sector’s performance has shifted to the large names. The table above shows the top 50 stocks in the discretionary sector. AMZN and TSLA are in the upper end of the range, and MCD is just above XLY, which is at position 17 out of 50. This implies that most stocks are performing worse than that sector index.’

Roughly the bottom half is at double-digit declines. While AMZN and TSLA are “only” up 2.4%, they drag the sector index up to around 1/3 of the entire universe, even with HD showing a 12.5% decline over that period.

Now, look at the same table. Instead of using XLY as the benchmark, we are now using RSPD as the benchmark.

RSPD is showing up at position 27 / 50, right where you’d expect an equal weight benchmark — in the middle of the universe, balancing out all the performances.

The bottom line is that XLY has been picking up recently only because of TSLA, AMZN, and MCD. But, under the hood, most discretionary stocks are going through a horrible correction.

From a trading perspective, such observations can offer great pair trading ideas.

Communication Services

The tails for XLC and RSPC are also far apart on the RRG. XLC is still inside the weakening quadrant and has just started to show the first signs of curling back up. RSPC is deep inside the lagging quadrant at a really low reading on the RS-Ratio scale overall, and is picking up relative momentum, but no relative trend (RS-Ratio) yet.

Over the five-week period, XLC lost 2.8%, while RSPC lost 4.3%. The composition for this sector is even more top-heavy than Consumer Discretionary.

META is listed as the top holding in XLC at 21%. But when we add up the weights for Alphabet A and B, it comes out to 26%. So together, the top two stocks in XLC are a whopping 47% of the sector.

Looking at the same table for XLC, we find Alphabet at the top of the list over the last five weeks. Meta is in the lower part at -9%. The sector (XLC) comes in at -2.8%, which means that META is UNDERperforming (-9% + 2.8% =) -6.2%. But Alphabet Class A is OUTperforming (10.4% + 2.8% = ) 13.2% and Alphabet Class C is OUTperforming (10.6% + 2.8% = ) 13.4%. This is a way stronger upward pull for the index than the drag caused by META.

Changing the benchmark to the EW version of Communication Services shows this table.

Again, we see the equal-weight benchmark (RSPC) dropping to near the middle of the list, balancing out the return more evenly.

All in all, this provides a similar pair trading opportunity.

This relative trend is much more mature than the XLY:RSPD pair, but, as long as the rhythm of higher highs and higher lows continues, buying the dips in this relative line offers opportunities.

Most of the time, the cap-weighted and equal-weighted versions of a sector will move more or less in tandem. But when they don’t, they’re worth investigating, as they may offer interesting trading opportunities.

#StayAlert and have a great weekend, –Julius


Julius de Kempenaer
Senior Technical Analyst, StockCharts.com
CreatorRelative Rotation Graphs
FounderRRG Research
Host ofSector Spotlight

Please find my handles for social media channels under the Bio below.

Feedback, comments or questions are welcome at [email protected]. I cannot promise to respond to each and every message, but I will certainly read them and, where reasonably possible, use the feedback and comments or answer questions.

To discuss RRG with me on S.C.A.N., tag me using the handle Julius_RRG.

RRG, Relative Rotation Graphs, JdK RS-Ratio, and JdK RS-Momentum are registered trademarks of RRG Research.

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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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