Bean There, Done That

In this piece I wrote about a strong seasonal tendency in corn based on the planting cycle.  Turns out soybeans are in the same boat.  This can be a good thing for traders who are, a) willing to speculate, b) not dumb enough to the bet the ranch.

 

The Trend

 

Figure 1 displays the annual seasonal trend for soybeans (from www.sentimentrader.com).  Just as with corn, the months of February through April tend to see positive results.  Please note the use of the word “tend” and the lack of the words “sure” or “thing”.

 

 

bean seasonality

 

Figure 1- Soybean Annual Seasonal Trend (Courtesy Sentimentrader.com)

 

The History

 

Figure 2 displays a monthly chart for soybeans going back 4 decades.

 

2

 

Figure 2 – Monthly chart for Soybeans (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

 

Here are the two things to note (using some pretty technical terms):

 

*Soybeans (like most commodities)  spend a lot of time “churning”, “grinding”, “consolidating” and generally going “nowhere”

 

*HOWEVER, “when beans go they really go!” (hopefully that wasn’t “too technical”)

 

*The primary thing to remember is that when soybeans get going to the upside, typically the best thing to do is to banish the word from “overbought” from your trading lexicon.  See Figure 3.

3

 

Figure 3 – Big moves in Beans (Courtesy ProfitSource by HUBB)

 

Now let’s focus on the months of February, March and April.  Figure 4 displays the hypothetical $ growth (no slippage or commissions) from holding long a 1-lot of soybean futures during February, March and April every year starting in 1976.

 

4

 

Figure 4 – Long 1 soybean futures contract during Feb-Mar-Apr every year since 1976

 

The Results

 

Some things to note regarding Feb-Apr in soybeans:

 

*# of times UP = 33

*# of times DOWN = 10

*Average $ gain = +$3,808

*Average $ loss = (-$1,788)

*Largest gain = +$15,025

*Largest loss = (-$3,775)

 

In sum, a winners to losers ratio of 3.3 (or 76% winners), an average win to average loss ratio of 2.13-to-1

 

Bottom line: these are great numbers for traders BUT they entail the assumption of significant risk (2017 saw a loss of over -$3,400)

 

An Alternative Way to Play

 

Ticker SOYB is the Teucrium ETF designed to track the price of soybeans.  SOYB allows traders to buy soybeans just as they would buy shares of stock.  Just remember that you don’t get the same leverage buying SOYB as you would buying a futures contract.

 

Figure 5 displays a monthly chart for SOYB and Figure 6 displays a daily chart.  Note the significant resistance level at around $16.96 a share.  If SOYB takes out that level sooner than later it might be a bullish sign.

 

5

 

Figure 5 – SOYB Monthly (Courtesy TradingExpert)

 

6

 

Figure 6 – SOYB Daily (Courtesy TradingExpert)

 

Summary

 

Soybeans have been beaten down a bit over the last several years.  If (and “yes”, that is a big “If”) beans are going to make a move higher, history suggests that the Feb through April period is a likely time for that to happen.

 

Am I “recommending” or even “merely suggesting” that you should buy soybean futures or ticker SOYB?  Not at all.  I adhere to that old media adage of “We (I) report, you decide.”

 

Which is better I think than the current motto of major media which appears to be “We decide, then we report our decision.”

Jay Kaeppel

 

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

All Eyes on Key Bellwether Support Levels

First the reality.  Nobody knows what the market is going to do.  Yes, I am aware that there are roughly a bazillion people out there “prognosticating” (myself included) about the stock market.  And yes, if one makes enough “predictions”, the law of averages dictates that one will be correct a certain percentage of the time.

 

Still, the market does offer clues.  Sometimes those clues turn out to be false leads.  But sometimes they do offer important information.  For example, Figure 1 displays four major market indexes.  As you can see, in the Aug-Sep-Oct time frame all four of these averages “broke out” to new all-time highs (i.e., The Good News) and then broke back down below the previous resistance line drawn on each chart (i.e., The Bad News).

 

1

 

Figure 1 – Four major indexes breakout then fail (Courtesy  TradingExpert)

 

False breakouts happen all the time.  And the reality here is that sometimes they mean something and sometimes they don’t.  But when all four major average do the same thing, a warning sign has been issued to those who are interested in seeing it.  That’s why it can be useful to seek “confirmation”.  For my purposes I look to what I refer to as my 4 “bellwethers”, which are:

 

SMH – Semiconductors

TRAN – Dow Transportation Average

ZIV – Velocity Shares Inverse VIX Index

BID – Sotheby Holdings

 

These tickers appear in Figure 2 (click to enlarge).

 

2

 

Figure 2 – Jay’s Market Bellwethers (Courtesy TradingExpert)

 

While the major indexes were testing new highs in Aug/Sep and then breaking down in October:

 

SMH – Never really came close to breaking out above its March high

TRAN – Followed the major indexes by hitting new highs in Aug/SP and then breaking down in October

ZIV – Never came anywhere close to its Jan-2018 high

BID – Broke to a new high in Jun/Jul, then failed badly.

 

In a nutshell, the failed major index breakouts were accompanied by absolutely no positive signs from the 4 bellwethers. So, the warning signs were there if one wished to see them.

 

So where are the bellwethers now?  Another close look at Figure 2 reveals that:

 

SMH – the key support level at 80.92

TRAN – the key level for the Dow Transports is 8744.36

ZIV – the key support level is 60.60

BID – a potential support level is 32.95 (the Apr 2013 low)

 

Summary

 

*Given the washed-out/oversold level that many indicators and sentiment surveys have reached…

 

*…Combined with the fact that we are in the seasonally favorable pre-election year (no down pre-election years since the 1930’s)

 

*There is a chance that 2019 could be surprisingly bullish, and shell-shocked investors should not stick their heads in the sand to the possibility.

 

At the same time:

 

*Based solely on trend-following indicators ALL of the major market indexes are technically in confirmed bear markets.  As a result, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having some portion of one’s capital in defensive positions at the moment (30% cash or short-term bonds?).

 

*Keep a close eye on January performance.  A bullish January would be a positive sign just as a negative January could – in this case – signal a continued market decline.

 

*Keep a close eye on the 4 Bellwethers relative to their respective support levels.

 

In a nutshell:

 

*Up January + Bellwethers holding above support = GOOD

 

*Down January + Bellwether breaking down below support = BAD

 

Those are all the “clues” I can offer at the moment.

 

Jay Kaeppel

 

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

When to Buy Energy Stocks

Crude oil and pretty much the entire energy sector has been crushed in recent months. This type of action sometimes causes investors to wonder if a buying opportunity may be forming.

The answer may well be, “Yes, but not just yet.”

Seasonality and Energy

Historically the energy sector shows strength during the February into May period.  This is especially true if the November through January period is negative.  Let’s take a closer look.

The Test

If Fidelity Select Energy (ticker FSENX) shows a loss during November through January then we will buy and hold FSENX from the end of January through the end of May.  The cumulative growth of $1,000 appears in Figure 1 and the yearly results in Figure 2.

1

Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in FSENX ONLY during Feb-May ONLY IF Nov-Jan shows a loss

2

Figure 2 – % + (-) from holding FSENX during Feb-May ONLY IF Nov-Jan shows a loss

Figure 3 displays ticker XLE (an energy ETF that tracks loosely with FSENX).  As you can see, at the moment the Nov-Jan return is down roughly -15%.

3

Figure 3 – Ticker XLE (Courtesy TradingExpert)

All of this suggests remaining patient and not trying to pick a bottom in the fickle energy sector. If, however, the energy sector shows a 3-month loss at the end of January, history suggests a buying opportunity may then be at end.

Summary

Paraphrasing here – “Patience, ah, people, patience”.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

An Obscure but Potentially Useful Oversold Indicator

Trend-following is essentially a “tried and true’ approach to investing.  But overbought/oversold (i.e., attempting to buy low/sell high) – that’s where the “excitement” is.  Of course, when it comes to trading and investing, “excitement” can be highly overrated.  Nevertheless, in this piece I want to talk about a relatively obscure indicator that may be useful in identifying vastly oversold situations.

 

EDITORS NOTE: The WinWay EDS file for Jay Kaeppel’s indicator is available to download here

 

 

The VixRSI14 Indicator

 

Part of the reason this indicator is obscure is because I think I “invented” it – but only by mashing together an indicator from Larry Williams and an indicator from Welles Wilder.  The first part is the standard Welles Wilder 14-day Relative Strength Index, more commonly referred to as “RSI”.

 

The 2nd part of VixRSI14 is an indicator created by famed trader Larry Williams which he dubbed “VixFix”.  This indicator is an effort to create a “Vix Index-like” indicator for any security.

 

WinWay TradingExpert code for these indicators appears at the end of the article.

 

A Few Notes

 

*For the record, VixRSI14 is calculated by taking a 3-day exponential average of VixFix and dividing that by a 3-day exponential average of RSI14 (are we having fun yet?).  Please see code at the end of the article.

 

*I prefer to use VixRSI14 using weekly data rather than daily data

 

*(Unfortunately) There are no “magic numbers” that indicate that a completely risk-free, you can’t lose, just buy now and watch the money roll in” buying opportunity is at hand (Disclaimer: If there was, I would probably just keep it to myself and not bother writing the article – sorry, it’s just my nature).  That being said, a decent “rule of thumb” is to look for a reading above 3.5 followed by a downside reversal.

 

(Click any chart below to enlarge)

 

With those thoughts in mind, Figure 1 displays a weekly chart of Wynn Resorts (WYNN) with the two indicators plotted separately below the bar chart.

1

 

Figure 1 – WYNN with William’s VixFix and Wilder’s RSI 14-day (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

Note that as price declines, VixFix tends to rise and RSI14 tends to fall.  VIXRSI14 essentially identifies “extremes” in the difference between these two.  Figure 2 displays WYNN with VixRSI14 plotted below the bar chart.

 

2

 

Figure 2 – WYNN with VixRSI14 (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

More “examples” appear in Figures 3 through 8 below.

 

3

 

Figure 3 – AMD (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

4

 

Figure 4 – BAC (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

5

 

Figure 5 – DISH (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

6

 

Figure 6 – GRMN (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

7

 

Figure 7 – NTAP (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

8

 

Figure 8 – YHOO (Courtesy WinWay TradingExpert)

 

Summary

 

As always, I merely present “ideas” here at JOTM.  So, do not assume from the charts above that you have found the “keys to the kingdom”.  But if used in conjunction with other confirming indicators – and remembering to employ some sort of risk control for those instances when a stock price decline fails to arrest itself even after VixRSI4 peaks above 3.5 – VixRSI14 may hold some value.

 

Indicator Code

 

EDITORS NOTE: The WinWay EDS file for Jay Kaeppel’s indicator is available to download here

 

Below is the code for VixFix, RSI14 and VixRSI14 from AIQ Expert Design Studio.

!#######################################

!VixFix indicator code

hivalclose is hival([close],22).

vixfix is (((hivalclose-[low])/hivalclose)*100)+50.

!#######################################

!#######################################

!RSI14 code

Define days14 27.

U14 is [close]-val([close],1).

D14 is val([close],1)-[close].

AvgU14 is ExpAvg(iff(U14>0,U14,0),days14).

AvgD14 is ExpAvg(iff(D14>=0,D14,0),days14).

RSI14 is 100-(100/(1+(AvgU14/AvgD14))).

!#######################################

!#######################################

!VixRSI14 code

VixRSI14 is expavg(vixfix,3)/expavg(RSI14,3).

!#######################################

 

Jay Kaeppel

 

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

Watch This Indicator

So, the big question on every investor’s mind is “What Comes Next?”  Since this is not an advisory service (and given the fact that I am not too good at predicting the future anyway) I have avoided commenting on “the state of the markets” lately.  That being said, I do have a few “thoughts”:

 

*The major averages (as of this exact moment) are still mostly above their longer-term moving averages (200-day, 10-month, 40-week, and so on and so forth).  So, on a trend-following basis the trend is still “up”.

 

0

Figure 1 – The Major Index (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

*We are in the most favorable 15 months of the 48-month election cycle (though off to a pretty awful start obviously) which beings Oct.1 of the mid-term year and ends Dec. 31st of the pre-election year.

 

*Investors should be prepared for some volatility as bottoms following sharp drops usually take at least a little while to form and typically are choppy affairs.  One day the market is up big and everyone breathes a sigh of relief and then the next day the market tanks.  And so on and so forth.

 

An Indicator to Watch

 

At the outset let me state that there are no “magical” indicators.  Still, there are some that typically are pretty useful.  One that I follow I refer to as Nasdaq HiLoMA.  It works as follows:

 

A = Nasdaq daily new highs

B = Nasdaq daily new lows

C = (A / (A+B)) * 100

D = 10-day moving average of C

C can range from 0% to 100%.  D is simply a 10-day average of C.

 

Nasdaq HiLoMA = D

 

Interpretation: When Nasdaq HiLoMA drops below 20 the market is “oversold”.

 

Note that the sentence above says “the market is oversold” and NOT “BUY NOW AGGRESSIVELY WITH EVERY PENNY YOU HAVE.”  This is an important distinction because – like most indicators – while this one may often give useful signals, it will occasionally give a completely false signal (i.e., the market will continue to decline significantly).

 

A couple of “finer points”:

 

*Look for the indicator to bottom out before considering it to be “bullish”.

 

*A rise back above 20 is often a sign that the decline is over (but, importantly, not always).  Sometimes there may be another retest of recent lows and sometimes a bear market just re-exerts itself)

 

*If the 200-day moving average for the Dow or S&P 500 is currently trending lower be careful about using these signals.  Signals are typically more useful if the 200-day moving average for these indexes is rising or at least drifting sideways rather than clearly trending lower (ala 2008).

 

Figures 2 through 8 displays the S&P 500 Index with the Nasdaq HiLoMA indicator.  Click to enlarge any chart.

 

1

Figure 2 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2006 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

2

Figure 3 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2008 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

3

Figure 4 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2010 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

4

Figure 5 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2012 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

5

Figure 6 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2014 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

6

Figure 7 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2016 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

7

Figure 8 – SPX with Jay’s Nasdaq HiLoMA ending 2018 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

Summary

 

The stock market is in a favorable seasonal period and is oversold.  As long as the former remains true, react accordingly (with proper risk controls in place of course).

 

Jay Kaeppel

 

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.

Bellwethers Looking a Bit Weathered

One of the benefits of being an avowed trend-follower is that it can allow you to avoid a lot of the “angst” that many investors suffer with each new twist and turn in the economic/financial/political/price of tea in China arena.  Let’s face it, if you scan the internet, watch cable news or read the financial press you will always have at least – roughly – 10,000 “things” that you could be worried about that will kick the legs out from whatever bullish thing might be happening at the moment.

 

I have a friend (no, seriously) and his comment recently was “The next person that mentions the Hindenburg Omen gets punched in the face”.  The bottom line: someone is always crying “Wolf”, and living in perpetual fear is – let’s be honest – kind of a crappy way to go through life.  Which is why I typically advocate focusing on the major trends and not sweating all the small stuff along the way.

 

Yes, things can go wrong and yes it would be nice to have at least some sort of a heads up in advance.  So, in an effort to not be completely ignorant of the goings on around me I do have a few “things” I follow in hopes of getting some “early warning” if trouble is brewing.  I call them my 4 bellwethers.

 

The main thing I look for is “divergence” between the action for the major stock market indexes and the action of these bellwethers.  Even the existence of divergences does NOT guarantee trouble.  But more often than not, major market tops are presaged by some “signs of trouble”.  So, let’s take a look.

 

The Major Indexes

 

Figure 1 displays the Dow, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 indexes.  As you can see, they are all in up trends, well above their respective 200-day moving averages and 3 of the 4 are at or near all-time highs.  In other words, from a solely trend-following perspective, “Thing are swell, things are great.”

 

(click to enlarge)

1

Figure 1 – Four major indexes all in bullish trends (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

The Bellwethers

 

Figure 2 displays my 4 bellwethers – they are:

 

Ticker SMH: an ETF that tracks the semiconductor sector. The world runs on technology and technology runs on semiconductors.

 

Dow Transportation Index: Whether the Transports confirm or diverge from the Dow Industrials has long been used as a gauge of market health by investors.

 

Ticker ZIV: An ETF that is designed to track the inverse of the VIX Index.  Long story, but bottom line, it should go up when the market goes up and vice versa.  Any deviation from that standard can be a warning sign.

 

Ticker BID: Sotheby’s Holdings which run high-end auctions.  Bottom line, if rich people are comfortable buying expensive stuff that is a good sign for the economy (and should be reflected in a rising trend in BID) and if rich people are NOT comfortable buying expensive stuff, well, vice versa.

 

(click to enlarge)

2

Figure 2 – Jay’s Market Bellwether (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

As you can see, the Bellwethers are mostly not confirming the major average at the moment.  This is not a reason to panic or fell angst.  It is simply something to keep an eye on.  The longer these divergences continue the more troublesome, so let’s focus on a couple of key things to watch to decide if maybe you should go ahead and start feeling angst.

 

Dow Transports

 

As you can see in Figure 3, double-tops in the Dow Transports have in the past signaled trouble for the overall stock market.

 

(click to enlarge)

3

Figure 3 – Dow Transport double tops often a sign of impending trouble (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

The Good News and Bad News for the Transport Index is reflected in the daily chart shown in Figure 4.  The Good News is that the Transports recently made a new all-time high.  The Bad News is that price has subsequently fallen back below the important support/resistance level marked in Figure 4.

 

(click to enlarge)

4

Figure 4 – Daily Dow Transports – up or down? (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

Interpretation going forward is relatively simple:

 

Good = Dow Transports above 11,424

 

Bad = Dow Transports below 11,424

 

Ticker BID

 

As you can see in Figure 5, weakness in the overall market averages is often presaged well in advance by a major breakdown in the price of BID.

 

(click to enlarge)

5

Figure 5 – Breakdowns in BID often an early warning sign (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

As you can see in Figure 6, BID recently tanked 25% before rebounding slightly.  Is this a “Look Out Below” warning sign for the stock market?  Dunno, but gonna keep a close eye on BID to see if it rebounds…or falls further.

 

(click to enlarge)

6

Figure 6 – Ticker BID – which way from here? (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

 

Summary

 

The major market averages are (mostly) rallying to new highs while Jay’s 4 Market Bellwethers are, well, it’s too soon to say exactly what they are.  But for the moment at least they are mostly not confirming the new highs in the major averages.  Please try to remain calm.  The proper response is Not fell angst and doubt, but rather to simply keep an eye on how things progress from here.  If the Bellwethers start to move higher then “the crisis will have passed.”  If not, then it will be very important to keep an eye open for – and to take seriously – signs of weakness in the major averages.

 

Jay Kaeppel

 

Disclaimer:  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While I believe the data to be reliable, no representation is made as to, and no responsibility, warranty or liability is accepted for the accuracy or completeness of such information.  The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute and should not be construed as investment advice, an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.