*************** PEBBLEWRITER.COM IS LIVE! TO SIGN UP, CLICK HERE ***************

Friday, October 28, 2011

2011 v 2008: Day 125

UPDATE:  4:00 PM

Heading off for the weekend and probably won't get to post.  One last thought... in looking at the rising wedge we're in, the apex seems to be around 1340-1350.  Wedges can and do expand (as this one has, many times).  But, breakouts typically occur around the .66 mark, which in this case would be about the 1250-60 level (there's that number, again.)

Veering off into hunch-land here, but I can't get over the feeling that everything after 1256 has been a throwover, and this last leg's days are numbered.   Maybe this weekend, investors will have a chance to more carefully evaluate the increased risk to the financial system of the "miraculous" Greece/ECB deal. 

Have a great weekend, everyone.

UPDATE:  10:00 AM

Continuing the train of thought from below...  If the channel lines below were to dominate, it raises some interesting questions with respect to the 2011 v 2008 analog.

Note, for instance, that the upper most channel line ends up at 1260 or so, a level that would have been perfectly consistent with the rising wedge terminus that the 2008 analog initially targeted (see the analog chart below, the purple rising wedge).  Not only that, it was the right target in the right time frame if the analog meant anything.

When I say "ends up," I mean that it makes some potentially significant intersections there.  For one, it's the .618 from the 1370 top, not to mention the June 16 bottom -- considered pretty significant resistance once upon a time.  That turned out to be the neckline for the huge H&S pattern that, when it broke, threw us into a bear market.  Last, there's a potential channel from our Sept-Oct lows (dashed lines) that's still waiting for some touches on the lower line.  If you extend out the likely lower line, it passes through that same point.

What would that imply for yesterday's high?  I haven't a clue.  But, I did notice some more interesting facts about Mr Big.  For one, it's the .786 from the July 1356 top which, as Mitchkeller correctly points out, might have been our conventional top.  It also lines up with what was the neckline (yellow, dashed) from the original ginormous H&S pattern.  And (drumroll please) it also intersects with the fan line (purple, dashed) from 2007 that passed through the Feb 18 1344 high.

Remember this line?  I first noticed it on May 5 when it stopped a plunge off the May 2 top  [See: The Trend Line That Just Won't Quit.]  I've since referenced it at least a dozen times because, well,  it just won't frickin quit.  Since Feb 18, it's legitimately stopped 28 market moves of both bullish and bearish persuasion.  That's 28 out of about 170 sessions since the first crack in the bull market, roughly 16.5%! 

Call me crazy, but a fan line that's stopped 16.5% of the market moves in the past whatever timeframe is worthy of our attention.  It's entirely possible that yesterday was the most amazing stop of all.  A stop for all time. A stop that makes young girls swoon, and old men grow misty-eyed just talking about it.  And, we were there.  We were there.

p.s. There's a catch (isn't there always?)  If this fan line really is that amazing, then I'm obligated to see if it plays out in other time frames and price levels.  And, it does.

One of the sister trend lines (of the same slope) is up above, where it connects the May 2 and the July 7 tops.  That would seem to leave the door open for a further advance.  If the FLTJWQ doesn't stop this advance, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts its big sister does.

And, while I'm pulling things out of my ass, here's an interesting idea.  Suppose we do a 100-pt dipsy doodle like we did starting Feb 22 and go down to better form the channel off the Sep and Oct lows?

There are several potential targets, including fibonacci's and channel lines both.  Something to think about.

UPDATE:  3:00 AM

Another way of looking at things...   Back in 2008, the TL off the 2007 high carried a lot of weight.

Here's the equivalent line in 2011:

Just for grins, I've drawn a bunch of parallel lines.  Looks too good to be a coincidence, no?


Ah, the good old days.  Day 121 was so simple, so uncomplicated.  We were a little ahead of ourselves, but a nice little downturn was in the offing and all would be good, again.

What a difference 4 days makes.  Either the 2011 v 2008 is over, or we're going through the kind of divergence we saw around day 85.  Here's the latest:

The purple rising wedge is what I expected, based on a continuation of the analog.  The yellow rising wedge is where we find ourselves, instead.

Note that day 151 was the last peak in the 2008 pattern.  Day 151 in this pattern would be around December 1.  So, given that we're nudging the .786 on day 125, and only expected to reach the .618 by day 151...what gives?

I can make a pretty good case for 1307 (the .786 Fib) being the top.  It would align pretty nicely with a trend line coming off the May 2 and July tops (the dashed purple line.)  And, that intersection occurs around the first of December.  But, and it's a big but, we're only 15 points south of that level today.  Could we really take over a month to add 15 points?

Not likely, unless this entire wave 2 move up was only the A leg, and we have significant B and C waves to come.  I'll defer to the EW experts among us, who say that scenario is highly unlikely (although chime in, if you like.)

A more likely scenario is that the pattern will continue, but in a different time frame -- namely, uh, now.  If we continue ramping like we did today, those 15 points will arrive in the next 15 seconds and Wave 2 will be kaput.  We can resume partying like it's 1929.

The bulls, of course, would argue that we'll keep going like this for another month, piling on a zillion points to the upside because the eurozone problems are fixed and consumers are spending money again ("fixed" being a gross exaggeration, and money being spent via credit cards -- but that's just me being a pessimist.)

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Charts I'm Watching: October 27, 2011

UPDATE:  7:30 PM

Any CDS experts out there?  If the Greece "haircut" isn't deemed a default, then it calls into question the value of credit default swaps.  Depending on who you ask and how you measure them, there are $2.5 - 600 trillion of these (possibly worthless) things floating around -- some presumably on the balance sheets of already under-capitalized banks.  Are they marked to market or carried at cost, where plunging value will further inflate banks' hidden liabilities?  If you know a little something about commercial or I-bank accounting, let us hear from you.

UPDATE:  6:00 PM

 Wild day for stocks, today; just as wild for bonds.  Remember ZROZ, the Pimco zero-coupon ETF we talked about a month ago?  [The Forest and the Trees]  At the time, it had completed a huge Crab pattern that portended rough times ahead for long bonds.

Sept 29, 2011
We talked about what might presage a 20% price decline indicated by the Crab pattern:
The portfolio's duration is 27.79, so a 20% decline in prices would indicate a yield increase of 0.72%.  Anything could happen, but a .72% increase in long bond yields would hardly be beneficial to stocks.

Of course, other factors can drive down prices -- credit quality, for instance.  We are talking US treasuries, after all.  And, let's not forget currency fluctuations.  A crash in the dollar wouldn't do much for the value of long-duration dollar-denominated assets.
The 20-yr yield hit 3.18 today, up from 2.79 on 9/29.  And, we got a pretty significant sell-off in the dollar, courtesy of a 2.45% single-day move in the EUR/USD.  While I expect the EUR/USD to reverse sharply, the interest rate bump is likely here to stay (we're only half way to our .72% targeted increase. ) And, as we noted back in September, such a development is hardly constructive for stock prices.

October 27, 2011

More later.

UPDATE:  12:15 PM

Closing in on the 1.618, which also intersects a channel line (red) from my last forecast.  Again, the channel lines are guesstimates based on the similarities between the 2007/8 top and the 2011 top (as modeled on 9/28 and revised 10/24).

The ones I drew in here are parallel to those in 2008, but the spacing of the last two to the right involve speculation on my part that they would follow a similar pattern as each of the preceding channel lines.

Note that since they have a steep slope, the point at which the market intersects them is a function of the time involved to get there.  In other words, the fact that we've reached the channel line so quickly has allowed us to reach it a higher price than would have been the case had we, say, taken the time to form a more pronounced B wave (a scenario I haven't completely given up on, BTW.)

As can be seen from a close up of the daily chart, intersecting the next higher channel line now, for instance, would take us to 1332.  While, an intersection on Nov 21 would result in a price of 1307.  There's no guarantee that we'll even reach it, as we have reached the outer boundary of the larger (yellow) regression channel.  But, I don't feel an overshoot is problematic, seeing as how we diverged pretty strongly below it in early August.


SPX is 3 pts away from completing a Crab pattern at the 1.618 at 1278.48.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Charts I'm Watching: October 26, 2011

UPDATE:  3:40 PM

I should add that, as long as this little Crab stops anywhere shy of 1257, we will have completed 3 of 4 legs of a Gartley pattern (purple).  The .618 reversal occurred at this morning's 1231 low, and the .786 target would be 1210 -- the original target from the little H&S pattern we completed yesterday.  In technical terms -- we're right back where we started.  Should have gone surfing today.

UPDATE:  2:00 PM

EUR trying a little counter-trend rally to the counter-trend.  Tracing out a likely Bat pattern that should reverse at 1.3954 or so.

The SPX, on the other hand, could potentially be tracing out a Crab which would take it out to the 1.618 at 1257 -- Monday's high and a possible double top.

A reminder, both paths down from here (the purple and yellow lines) call for a reversal in the 1257-1270 range [see yesterday's Charts I'm Watching.]  The fact that the DX, the EUR and the SPX are all indicating a harmonic driven reversal makes a pretty good argument. 

But, keep an eye on the H&S patterns.  If we don't shoot up as is indicated, they're still in play and could result in a strong move down right here.

Up to 1257 (and possibly 1270) or down to 1196 (and likely 1136) -- it sounds like a crap CYA forecast to me, too.  But, that's just exactly where we are right now, with everything riding on the outcome of the Brussels summit (perception, not reality -- which is ugly).   The groundwork has been laid for either course, leaving us to wait.

To wait, and perchance to hedge.

UPDATE:  1:10 PM

DX poised to break out of its falling wedge.  Note the positive divergence, too.

And, a review of the EUR/USD, from the really big picture to the little Butterfly pattern completed with this morning's failed rally.  Barring a deus ex machina outcome in Brussels, the next major move should be to complete the Crab pattern at the 1.618 extension of 1.16.


The little H&S I was watching yesterday has, with this morning's reversal, morphed into a larger one with potential to 1196.   Keep an eye on the purple dashed fan line.  If we break it, we could zip down to 1196 pretty quickly.

Looking ahead... if we do reach and bounce off of 1196, there is the potential for an additional, larger H&S pattern with potential to 1136, very close to the midline of the regression channel.  A bounce at 1196 would make sense;  getting there would require we fall out of the rising wedge, and the expected backtest would get a right shoulder started.

Just keep in mind that these if/then scenarios are just scenarios.  Sometimes they pan out, and sometimes they don't.   It's nice to plan four moves ahead in a chess game, but if your opponent doesn't do what he's expected to, it's back to the drawing board.

But, when I see a progression of stair steps as we had the past two weeks, I start thinking about the stairs back down.  H&S patterns are built on such moves.


As discussed at length yesterday, it's all about the Euromess today.  Merkel's victory in the Bundestag was largely negated by reports of a fistfight in the Italian Parliament -- where the real battle will be fought, dwarfing the Greece debacle.

More later.

Housing: More of the Same

Again, ignore the headlines. 

The numbers that really matters are ytd sales (without a seasonal adjustment) and median sales price.  Here, without the glitzy graphics or Census Dept spin, is the unvarnished truth.

                                     US      Northeast   Midwest    South     West

2011 v 2010 ytd         -7.9%      -29.7%       -9.7%      -4.1%     -6.1%
percent change in
units sold

Median price:

             June                         $ 240,200
             July                             230,900
             August                        210,900
             September                  204,400

             Sep '11 v Sep '10         -10.3%

The high-end market remains in a coma.  Sales of homes $750,000 and over have topped 1,000 units per month only twice this year, with homes $400,000 - 750,000 only marginally better. maintains some great graphs that show what's really happening.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Charts I'm Watching: October 25, 2011

UPDATE:  4:30 PM

Good, strong close at low for the day.  Guess I'm not the only one looking for disappointing news from Brussels. Here's a peek at the DX daily chart.  Note the .618 Fib intersecting with the SMA 200 and a reversal candle for the day. 

And, just for grins, here's a pattern that doesn't quite fit in any traditional harmonic pattern.

A Gartley Point B should be at .618, with a D at the .786.  So, this is a little high on both (53 and 37 points.)  It could be a Butterfly, which has a B at the .786, though we came up 15 points shy of that.  If so, Point D should be at the 1.272 which is 2548.  It could be a Bat, but B should be below .618.  If it were, it would have a target of the .886 at 2392 - 3 points beyond yesterday's high.

My guess -- Butterfly.  If the market's up tomorrow, look for the Butterfly to play out to the 1.272 at 2548 before reversing.  If the market's down, my bet is it'll be down big and the form of the pattern won't much matter.

UPDATE:  3:15 PM

SPX just completed small H&S that could produce a quick drop to 1210.  It echoes the pennant we made earlier in the day, and would leave the index appropriately close to the center line of the regression channel we're following (dotted yellow line in daily chart below.)

Given the structure of the rise these past two weeks, there are several other H&S patterns that could complete, depending on how the next day or two go.  A bump back up from 1210, for instance, could form a right shoulder for a 50-pt pattern that helps get us to the 1160 area.  Worth keeping an eye on.

Recapping the forecast...

The Purple Line:

If we don't do a big Euro-dump tomorrow, we'll likely bounce off 1205-1210 to one last high around 1265-1270 before Wave 3 gets started in earnest.

The Yellow Line:

If we sell off big, I'm looking for a leg down to 1160ish for starters.  If that comes off as our B wave, then the final push should be to 1307 or so.  If B is done, then the floor drops out.  The big question will be how to know which one it is.  Here, we'll just have to pay attention to the quality of the news -- dead deal or more can-kicking.


Interesting that we paused at the .618 (from the May 1370 top to the 1074 bottom.)   Remember that Gartley patterns reverse at the .618, retrace .382 - .886 of that, then reverse again to test the .786 before heading back in the other direction -- typically at least .618 of the last leg, potentially 1.618 or more of it.

Just speculating here, but if we should reverse here and follow the yellow line, completing a more significant B wave in this corrective wave 2,  I'll be on the lookout for a C wave that terminates at the .786, completing a Gartley pattern at 1307.   Note that this would potentially intersect with a trend line (purple, dashed) off the May 2 and Jul 7 highs.

That's not to say we couldn't get there without a more significant B wave; it's just that this rising wedge is getting very, very long in the tooth and I can't see it continuing to melt up without more of a break.

I'm going to go ahead and alter the yellow line to reflect this possibility, but keep in mind this is speculating on what I consider an alternate count.  My preferred outcome is a sell-off following disappointment over what's (not) happening in Brussels.

Speaking of which, I'm starting to see more and more expectation management out of the Eurozone.  My favorite is this one:

He's correct when he says they "never talked about this summit as the decisive summit."  The decisive summits were February 14,  March 24, June 23, July 21 and September 16.  Here's a great visual from Reuters, courtesy of Zerohedge.  It does a great job of charting Italian bond yields over the past year of promises and missteps by the Eurostooges.

More later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Too Far, Too Fast: Oct 24, 2011

In looking at the 2011 v 2008 analog, it's obvious we've advanced at a much faster pace these past two weeks than the analog would suggest.

From a price standpoint, we've very nearly reached our wave 2 target a good month or more early.  We can debate the causes -- everything from "animal spirits" to expectations of a Euro miracle.  It's also possible that the analog I've been following since May has simply become too well known.

I have no idea whether someone else noticed it before I.  But, in August, EWI started talking it up.  And, just this morning, I saw a chart in a recent Demark interview that looked oddly familiar.  It's entirely possible folks have taken such a shine to it that they jumped the gun, trying to get out in front of the last rise before the downturn.

There I go again, saying "downturn" when I mean "crash."

Thanks to the speed and distance of this rise, I get to redraw the internal channels of the 2011 pattern.  One fun discovery is that the revised slope is...wait for it...the same as the 2007/8 top.  At least, it could be.  The reality is that there are dozens of ways to draw these channels.

But, given the similarities between the two tops, I think it makes sense to look for similar channel lines, too.  Take a gander.  First, the original:

Note the channels in 2011 are steeper than those is 2007/8.  That made sense when it appeared that wave 2 would be bouncing back from 1040.  Here's what we got instead:

A little closer view...

And, the close up.

If you look closely, you'll see there are two paths from today's close.  The yellow line starts down right away, forming a real B wave instead of the sissy B wave we had last week.  It then takes its sweet time forming a C wave that ends in December -- maybe around 1285. 

The purple line wastes no time.  Like the yellow line, it reverses this week -- maybe even tomorrow around 1266, but doesn't stop running until Bernanke is reduced to a quivering blob of pale, green jello and Merkozy's love child springs from the womb shooting stardust and rainbows from its fingertips. 

Personally, I'm leaning toward the first option, reaching 1266 Tuesday or Wednesday, at which point the whole Euro-agreement should be ready for the shredder.  Or maybe we just gap down from here.  Our high today was within $1 of the .618 (from 1370 top to 1074 bottom) and within $2 of the Jun 16 low.

I show the two courses coming back together in Jan-Feb 2012, doing a side-step for a month before heading down to complete Minor 3 of Intermediate 1 at around 650.  The SMA 200 is around 1274, and the put-call ratio is back down to .53 -- very toppy.   The RSI, stochastic and McClellan Oscillator are all looking bearish.

More later.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dollar Days - October 23, 2011

UPDATE:  2:00 PM

Melt up continuing in what feels like an Apple or Gold-like throw-over...  Watching a rising wedge, crab pattern (just got to the 1.618 extension) and oodles of negative divergence developing on the 5-min chart.

Here we are, in late October, in the general vicinity of our December target.  Talk about too far, too fast.  The next move should be a quick dump to 1197 or so.  But, given the market's rumor-driven euphoria, who can say when/if rational behavior will resume?

UPDATE:  October 24, 12:00 PM

Big news rumors this morning -- reports that the EFSF might be increased to 1 trillion euros and/or China and Brazil might step in and buy euro bonds and/or the IMF will jump in and start supporting the euro... blah, blah, blah.

The only real news is that Markit Economics PMI (purchasing manager index) fell to the lowest level and is falling at the fastest rate since July 2009.  The PMI has been a very good predictor of GDP growth.  Manufacturing output, orders, backlogs, employment, confidence -- all bad and getting worse.

In other words, don't expect the Eurozone to work itself out of its mess through economic growth.   What will be necessary, says Moody's, is a lot of pain.  In an article headlined "Euro Credit Pressures Yet to Peak:"
The rating agency therefore expects that severe market pressures will likely persist for the foreseeable future, with the potential for higher long-term financing costs and an elevated risk of constrained access to funding.
That's a fancy way of saying "credit freeze."  In the meantime, Morgan Stanley (in a blatant case of book talking) recommended clients go long the Euro this morning, with a near term target of 1.4060 before falling back to 1.30 by year's end.  The bump was enough to complete a bearish Bat pattern, the third embedded bearish harmonic pattern over the past couple of weeks. 

EUR likely maxed out just past the .886 Fib at 1.3946; look for a reversal here in EUR/USD and SPX, which is showing marked negative divergence.


One way or the other, the Brussels befuddlement will drive markets this week.  If you're a glass-half-full type, the long-awaited solution to Eurozone problems is imminent, and the market is due for a rip-roaring surge that'll take us to new highs.  If you're more glass-half-empty, this summit will be like all the rest, ending in a promise to resolve things "soon" that will be followed by... more promises.

I guess I'm more a "there is no glass" kind of guy.  It baffles me how many times the investing public has bought the "this time for sure" malarkey.   One thing for sure, there is no solution to the problem that doesn't involve substantial write-downs for banks and other institutional investors....unless, of course, the ECB takes a page from Helicopter Ben's book and simply starts printing (literally or figuratively.)  Neither is good for the Euro.

The harmonic patterns in the markets are confirming said diagnosis.  Take a look, for instance at the dollar index (DX.)  It reached significantly oversold status on Friday solely on rumors that things had been settled.  But, in so doing, it has traced out nestled bullish harmonic patterns.

The Butterfly pattern (in yellow) completed at the 1.272 extension, while the smaller (purple) Crab pattern completed at the 1.618 extension.   If you have no idea what this means, don't worry.  Just know that the dollar, which recently suffered in relationship to a rebounding Euro, is about to snap back in a big way -- probably to the 78.61 range.

For laypeople who think this is irrelevant because they don't invest in currencies, think again.  The Dollar/Euro relationship has been a very powerful indicator of stock market performance for many weeks, now.  Bottom line, a surging dollar/falling Euro has been very bearish for stocks.

Look for DX to remain in the channel we've drawn, with Friday's dip written off as an aberration.   Next up, the .618 Fibonacci level at 78.989 from Jun 2010, which might represent some resistance.  It's also the .382 from the more recent October highs.

The EUR/USD, on the other hand, is poised to plunge.  Last week's attempt to break out of its bearish plunge will fail.   It's completed a bearish Bat pattern (in purple) at the .886 Fib and a bearish Butterfly (in yellow) at the 1.272 that should see it hit 1.35 within the next few days.  My medium-term target is 1.15 between now and mid-March 2012.

Note the recent 50 SMA cross below the 200, a so-called death cross implying EUR has officially entered a bear market.  The 50/200 weekly chart clearly shows the recent attempt to turn bullish again has failed.

More later.

Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 v 2008: Day 121

 It's probably safe to say the 2011 v 2007/8 analog is back in sync.  While there were numerous reasons to expect a lower low than the 1074 we got, in the end we got something truncated -- whatever count you want to put on it.

I'm disappointed (and poorer), but am happy if things are back to a higher degree of predictability.  Here's where the counts are as of today.

Assuming we get through the day without a sudden plunge, it appears as though one is coming as early as Monday (conveniently, right after OPEX.)   If I'm right, it'll take us down to the 1140-1150 area and establish the lower ray of a rising wedge that peaks in December.

Here's a closeup of the equivalent 2008 action, just for grins.  I'm working on the 2011 upside target.   My current thinking is around 1260, but I have more work to do before committing to that. 

In the meantime, a very tradeable 60 point dip and likely 100 point rally into December.  Plenty here to help me get over the lost 40 points.

If I'm wrong, and we get the lower low I've been expecting, then it's coming either really early or really late.  No question that this rally has been faster and stronger than most expected.  I heard that EWI is suggesting that the corrective wave is actually over - recommending leveraged short positions for the imminent wave 3 of 3.

Let's discuss moving averages for a moment.  People are divided over whether to use simple versus exponential.  The EMA gives more weighting to recent price moves than older ones, so it reflects recent volatility more effectively.  On the other hand, that volatility sometimes generates false signals that wouldn't have been made under the smoother SMA methodology. 

Which should you use?  It's kind of like the exponential vs arithmetic charting argument.  You should use both, if for no other reason than to be aware of what others might be watching (and acting upon.)  I bring it up today because SPX passed beyond the EMA 200 today (thick red line.)

The thick purple line is the SMA 200, and is still a good 36 points away.   While both are some distance from their 50-day moving averages (and, thus, still in death cross mode) the EMA makes a really good case for a reversal right here.

BTW, 200 sessions ago was around Jan 7, 2011 -- at which time the SPX closed at 1271 on its way to 1344 about 30 sessions later.  So, the MA should retain a slight negative slope as long as we're replacing 1280-1344 days with anything less than that.  In other words, it's coming to where we are as much as we're heading towards it.

Last, a note on currencies and moving averages.  DX just saw the SMA 50 cross above the 200, confirming a bullish market for the dollar.  Likewise, AUD and EUR both just saw a bearish cross on the 50/200 and their prices smack up against the 200.

While it's possible we could see a continued stock rally in face of a rising dollar, that's not how it's been playing out lately.  It lends credence to the idea of a sharp pullback in stocks and rise in the dollar, followed by a period of chop that will carry DX back across the channel, possibly expanding it if completing wave 2 takes much longer.


A word about comments on this blog.  All I ask is that you provide an underlying rationale for your thoughts.  A statement such as "now we're heading back to 1350" does very little to enlighten anyone.  Provide some context, so that others can decide for themselves whether your reasoning is sound.

I don't even mind if your comment isn't about technical analysis.  We can all learn from each other.   Although, if you get bullish every time the hummingbirds outside your window have sex, I suggest you start your own blog (and seek professional help.)

Also, for the first time ever, I deleted a troll's discourteous comment today.  I have no issue with those who disagree with me.  Obviously, I won't always be right.  But, we've had a great run, going back to my first post on May 2 (wondering if we were near the top -- who would've thunk?)

I've given back some profits over the past couple of weeks, but am still up very substantially ytd.  Anyone who shorted heavily on July 26 [see: All Aboard] after seeing this chart has probably done all right, too. 

I'm often early, and have a definite bearish bias.  But, I try to always have a sound reason for my forecasts.  I always tell the truth as I see it, and don't charge a dime for my thoughts.  Having said that, this is not investment advice.  Anyone who shadows my trading does so at their own considerable risk.