HiLo Indicator Nears an Important Point

The old adage is that we should “buy when there is blood in the streets.”  It basically means to buy when things look their worst.  Well, for the record I am not actually a fan of this intonation. While it is probably a fair statement, I for one prefer to see some sign of hope – some sign of a trend reversal at the very least – before taking the plunge.

One historically useful indicator suggests we may be nearing that point.

I refer to this indicator as JKHiLo.  I included my initials in the acronym because I “developed” it.  OK, all I really did was take one guy’s useful indicator and multiply it by another guy’s useful indicator and voila.

In a nutshell JKHilo multiplies Norman Fosback’s HiLo Logic Index by Gerald Appel’s High/Low Indicator.

The Fosback HiLo Logic Index (FHLLI)

I wrote two articles here and here about this indicator.  In short, a very low number of stocks making new lows is bullish for the stock market – it indicates that stocks overall are going up and is bullish.  At the same time, a very low number of stocks making new highs is also (typically) ultimately bullish going forward, as it tends to signal a “washed out” market.

So this indicator:

*takes the lower of new highs and new lows each day

*divides that number by the total number of issues trades

*takes a 10-day moving average of daily readings

Specifically, the Fosback HiLo Logic Index (HLLI) is calculated as follows:

A=Daily Nasdaq New Highs

B=Daily Nasdaq New Lows

C=The lower of A and B

D=The total number of Nasdaq issues traded

E = (C / D) * 100

FHLLI = 10-day average of E

Readings above 2.15% are considered a sign of “churning”, i.e., a lot of new highs AND new lows.  Reading below 0.40% are considered “bullish” because either new highs OR new lows is very low.

The Fosback HiLo Logic Index finally dropped below 0.40% on 3/23/20.  Figure 1 displays the OTC Composite Index with this indicator through 12/31/2019.

Figure 1 – Fosback HiLo Logic Index

The Appel High/Low Indicator

This indicator (heretofore AHLI) is more of a trend-following indicator.  It simply divides the number of new highs each day by the total of new highs AND new lows, then takes a 10-day average.

The AHLI is calculated as follows:

A=Daily Nasdaq New Highs

B=Daily Nasdaq New Lows

C = A / (A+B)

AHLI = 10-day average of C

Figure 2 displays this indicator versus the OTC Composite from 12/29/17 through 3/23/20.

Figure 2 – Appel High/Low Indicator (x100; blue line) with OTC Composite (/100; red line); Dec17 through 3/23/20

Extremely low readings tend to highlight oversold market conditions.  For the record, an actual “buy signal” for this indicator occurs when it drops below 0.20 (or 20 in Figure 3 since the blue line is the indicator x 100) and then rises back above that level.

The JK Hilo Index (JKHiLo)

So then one day some young punk comes along and multiplies the Fosback indicator by the Appel indicator and has the audacity to add his own initials.  Some people. Anyway:

JKHiLo = (FHLLI x AHLI) x 500

A “12-month Buy Signal” occurs when this indicator:

*drops below 5.00

*then turns higher for one day

The first part of this signal has happened.  As of the close on 3/23/20 JKHL has plunged to 1.8.

Let’s look at previous instances when JKHL fell below 5.00 and then ticked higher for one day.

IMPORTANT: This upside reversal technically constitutes a “12-month buy signal”.  What does that mean?  It means:

*We expect the market to be higher 12-months later

*HOWEVER, it is NOT an “All Clear, Everything is Great, You Can’t Lose” signal

The bottom line is that it typically does NOT mark the actually bottom.  In most cases, another new low or at least a retest of the low follows within a few months.  But not always.

Figure 3 displays the 7 buy signals that have occurred since 1990.

A = Date of signal – i.e., date the JKHL indicator ticked up one day after dropping below 5

B = SPX closing price on date of signal

C = Subsequent low closing price for SPX

D = SPX closing price 12 months after signal date

E = # of trading days between date of signal and ultimate low

F = % decline by SPX from date of signal to ultimate low

G = % change in SPX closing price 1 year after date of signal

Figure 3 – JKHL 12-month buy signals

It is important to note that each previous “buy signal” was followed by further downside price movement prior to the ultimate low.  It ranged from 2 trading days in 2018 to 101 trading days in 2008.  6 of the 7 signals saw a further decline of no more than -6.3%.  But the 2008 signal saw the market continue to plunge another -31% of the following 3+ months.

So, like I said earlier, even when this indicator does turn up and generate a new signal, that DOES NOT mean “All Clear”.  Still, to get an idea of what we might expect, each of the previous signals are displayed in the Figures below.

Figure 4 – 1990 signal (-3.4% to low, +25.6% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 5 – 1998 signal (-6.3% to low, +31.3% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 6 – 2002 signal (-4.1% to low, +24.3% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 7 – 2008 signal (-31.3% to low, +10.7% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 8 – 2011 signal (-0.5% to low, +25.4% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 9 – 2016 signal (-4.1% to low, +19.1% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 10 – 2018 signal (-2.4% to low, +28.9% 12 months later)
(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

We DO NOT have a new signal yet, but JKHiLo is below 5, so it is just a matter of waiting for the daily value to tick higher for one day (and then – if history is a guide – waiting for the ultimate low to be put in before a subsequent rally).

Figure 11 – As of 3/23/20(Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Summary

Are we on the cusp of a new opportunity?  Or on the edge of a cliff?  In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, I can’t pretend to know the answer.  So, I rely on objective indicators to guide me.

At this moment in time the “trend-following” indicators are bearish and so caution is undoubtedly in order.  But other indicators such as the one discussed here remind us to remain alert to new opportunities.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer: The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are based on research conducted and presented solely by the author.  The information presented does not represent the views of the author only and does not constitute a complete description of any investment service.  In addition, nothing presented herein should be construed as investment advice, as an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or as an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While the data is believed 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.  International investments are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, political instability and the potential for illiquid markets.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  There is risk of loss in all trading.  Back tested performance does not represent actual performance and should not be interpreted as an indication of such performance.  Also, back tested performance results have certain inherent limitations and differs from actual performance because it is achieved with the benefit of hindsight.

Please Take a Moment to Locate the Nearest Exit (Part II)

To put this piece in context please refer to Part I here.

Part I detailed the Good News (the stock market is still very much in a bullish trend and may very well continue to be for some time) and touched on one piece of Bad News (the market is overvalued on a long-term valuation basis).

The Next Piece of Bad News: The “Early Lull”

In my book, Seasonal Stock Market Trends, I wrote about something called the Decennial Pattern, that highlights the action of the stock market in a “typical” decade.

The Four Parts of the “Typical Decade” are:

The Early Lull: Market often struggles in first 2.5 years of a decade

The Mid-Decade Rally: Market typically rallies in the middle of a decade – particularly between Oct 1 Year “4” and Mar 31 Year “6”

The 7-8 Decline: Market often experiences a sharp decline somewhere in the Year “7” to Year “8” period

The Late Rally: Market often rallies strongly into the end of the decade.

Figure 1 – 1980-1989 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 2 – 1990-1999 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 3 – 2000-2009 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

Figure 4 – 2010-2019 (Courtesy WinWayCharts TradingExpert)

We are now in the “Early Lull” period.  This in no way “guarantees” trouble in the stock market in the next two years.  But it does offer a strong “suggestion”, particularly when we focus only on decades since 1900 that started with an Election Year (which is where we are now) – 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, 2000.

(See this article for a more detailed discussion)

As you can see in Figures 5 and 6, each of these 6 2.5-year decade opening periods witnessed a market decline – -14% on average and -63% cumulative.  Once again, no guarantee that 2020 into mid 2022 will show weakness, but….. the warning sign is there

Figure 5 – Dow price performance first 2.5 years of decades that open with a Presidential Election Year (1900-present)

Figure 6 – Cumulative Dow price performance first 2.5 years of decades that open with a Presidential Election Year (1900-present)

Summary

Repeating now: the trend of the stock market is presently “Up”.

Therefore:

*The most prudent thing to do today is to avoid all of the “news generated” worry and angst and enjoy the trend.

*The second most prudent thing to do is to acknowledge that this up trend will NOT last forever, and to prepare – at least mentally – for what you will do when that eventuality transpires, i.e., take a moment to locate the nearest exit.

Stay tuned for Part III

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer: The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are based on research conducted and presented solely by the author.  The information presented does not represent the views of the author only and does not constitute a complete description of any investment service.  In addition, nothing presented herein should be construed as investment advice, as an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or as an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While the data is believed 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.  International investments are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, political instability and the potential for illiquid markets.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  There is risk of loss in all trading.  Back tested performance does not represent actual performance and should not be interpreted as an indication of such performance.  Also, back tested performance results have certain inherent limitations and differs from actual performance because it is achieved with the benefit of hindsight.

Where We Are (and One Thing to Watch For)

I haven’t written a lot lately.  Mostly I guess because there doesn’t seem to be a lot new to say.  As you can see in Figure 1, the major market indexes are in an uptrend.  All 4 (Dow, S&P 500, Russell 2000 and Nasdaq 100) are above their respective 200-day MA’s and all but Russell 2000 have made new all-time highs.

Figure 1 – 4 Major Market Indexes (Courtesy WinWayCharts)

As you can see in Figure 2, my market “bellwethers” are still slightly mixed.  Semiconductors are above their 200-day MA and have broken out to a new high, Transports and the Value Line Index (a broad measure of the stock market) are holding above their 200-day MA’s but are well off all-time highs, and the inverse VIX ETF ticker ZIV is in a downtrend (ideally it should trend higher with the overall stock market).

Figure 2 – Jay’s 4 Market “Bellwethers” (Courtesy WinWayCharts)

As you can see in Figure 3, Gold, Bonds and the U.S. Dollar are still holding in uptrends above their respective 200-day MA’s (although all have backed off of recent highs) and crude oil is sort of “nowhere”.

Figure 3 – Gold, Bonds, U.S. Dollar and Crude Oil (Courtesy WinWayCharts)

Like I said, nothing has really changed.  So, at this point the real battle is that age-old conundrum of “Patience versus Complacency”.  When the overall trend is clearly “Up” typically the best thing to do is essentially “nothing” (assuming you are already invested in the market).  At the same time, the danger of extrapolating the current “good times” ad infinitum into the future always lurks nearby.

What we don’t want to see is:

*The major market averages breaking back down below their 200-day MA’s.

What we would like to see is:

*The Transports and the Value Line Index break out to new highs (this would be bullish confirmation rather the current potentially bearish divergence)

The Importance of New Highs in the Value Line Index

One development that would provide bullish confirmation for the stock market would be if the Value Line Geometric Index were to rally to a new 12-month high.  It tends to be a bullish sign when this index reaches a new 12-month high after not having done so for at least 12-months.

Figure 4 displays the cumulative growth for the index for all trading days within 18 months of the first 12-month new high after at least 12-months without one.

Figure 4 – Cumulative growth for Value Line Geometric Index within 18-months of a new 12-month high

Figure 5 displays the cumulative growth for the index for all other trading days.

Figure 5 – Cumulative growth for Value Line Geometric Index during all other trading days

In Figure 4 we see that a bullish development (the first 12-month new high in at least 12 months) is typically followed by more bullish developments. In Figure 5 we see that all other trading days essentially amount to nothing.

Figure 6 displays the Value Line Geometric Index with the relevant new highs highlighted.

Figure 6 – Value Line Geometric Index (Courtesy WinWayCharts)

Summary

The trend at this very moment is “Up.”  So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.  Just don’t ever forget that the ride WILL NOT last forever.  If the Value Line Geometric Index (and also the Russell 2000 and the Dow Transports) joins the party then history suggests the party will be extended.  If they don’t, the party may end sooner than expected.

So pay attention.

Jay Kaeppel

Disclaimer: The information, opinions and ideas expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are based on research conducted and presented solely by the author.  The information presented does not represent the views of the author only and does not constitute a complete description of any investment service.  In addition, nothing presented herein should be construed as investment advice, as an advertisement or offering of investment advisory services, or as an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security.  The data presented herein were obtained from various third-party sources.  While the data is believed 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.  International investments are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, political instability and the potential for illiquid markets.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  There is risk of loss in all trading.  Back tested performance does not represent actual performance and should not be interpreted as an indication of such performance.  Also, back tested performance results have certain inherent limitations and differs from actual performance because it is achieved with the benefit of hindsight.

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.

AI Market Timing system – saw the fall coming, so now what

What is the AI in AIQ?

The AI in TradingExpert Pro is programmed with the knowledge and insight of many stock market professionals, and is capable of making market recommendations based on this knowledge and insight; recommendations are made on a scientific basis free of bias, emotion, or hidden motives. 

The AI or expert systems are programmed with rules that combine sound principles of technical analysis with the knowledge and experience of market professionals.  Technical analysis, as used by AIQ, is based on the logic that price is the result of supply and demand.  An AIQ timing signal, therefore, reflects all available knowledge and opinions such as news of the day, earnings, product reports, and company forecasts.

Technical analysis recognizes price and volume movement as the voice of the market itself and hence the only data necessary to determine what the market is likely to do next.

 

The AIQ Expert System


As an expert system, TradingExpert Pro is comprised of two knowledge bases – one for market timing and a second for stock selection – and an inference engine. Knowledge, in the form of rules, is stored in the knowledge bases. The inference engine is the thinking component of an expert system.

Each of the two knowledge bases within TradingExpert Pro has its own unique rules. The rules operate on facts which are values of the technical indicators. The indicators are computed from daily price, volume, and breadth data.

The rules employed in ATQ TradingExpert Pro are derived from the knowledge of many experts of market action and market timing. The reliability of these rules is maximized by combining them into a higher level of Expert Rules. Market analysts have found that no single rule or indicator works all the time. In AIQ, the Expert Rules and technical indicators work together to generate upside and downside signals.

 

Different knowledge bases for different market cycles


Continuing research at AIQ has shown that a single knowledge base can be improved if it is split into several knowledge bases, one for each phase of the market cycle. This advancement has been incorporated in the market timing knowledge base. The crest, trough, up slope, and down slope are each addressed by a specific set of rules specialized and weighted for that specific phase of the market cycle.

Each market day, then, the system determines the strength and  direction of the phase, or trend.  If there is no trend, it is first determined if the cycle is at a crest prior to a downtrend, or in a trough before the next uptrend.  A more specialized knowledge base is used for each of these conditions, increasing the overall market timing effectiveness.

 

 

The inference engine

The knowledge base fuels the second part of the AIQ expert system, the inference engine.  The inference engine is the thinking component of an expert system, and mimics the way humans think.

To understand how the AIQ inference engine works, picture a decision tree. The procedure starts from the tree’s trunk, where the major rules are located. Each rule is represented as a node, or fork, where the tree splits into three branches-representing a yes, a no, or a maybe.  If the expert system determines that the premise of a rule is true, then the rule is considered to have fired, giving one of those three answers.

As each rule is evaluated, the process moves on to the next node and subsequent branches and continues to move on through the tree. Each rule node has an assigned value.  That value is added to a node total that is accumulated as the inference engine passes through the tree. When all the rules have been evaluated, the resulting node total is normalized and becomes an AIQ Expert Rating.  


Finally


The Expert Ratings are based on a scale of 0 to l00. The higher the Expert Rating, the stronger the signal.  An Expert Rating of 95 or higher is considered a strong signal, meaning that there is a strong possibility that the price trend is about to change direction.


Confirmation of Expert Ratings


Research has shown that a change in direction of the Phase indicator (changing up for up ER, changing down for down ER) at or close to the high Expert Rating date provides a higher degree of confidence in the rating. Phase is not part of the Expert System.


So let us examine the last 7 weeks market action.



2-98 down signal 9/18/2018, 9/18/18 and 9/20/18 all with these primary riles firing confirmed by phase


Intraday high prices of the market have increased to a 21 day high.  Never the less, the advance/decline oscillator is negative. This unusual event is read as a very strong bearish signal that is often  followed by an downward price movement. 


Closing prices on the market have increased to a 21 day high but market breadth as measured by advances and declines is declining. This non-confirmation in a trading market is a weak bearish signal indicating a possible downward price movement.  

DJIA with the 3 successive down signals

 

Confirmed down signal 4-96 on 10/05/18 these primary rules fires

 

Trend Status has changed to a strong down trend.  This indicates that a downward trend has started that may continue in this direction. This is a  moderate bearish signal. 

The 21 day stochastic has declined below the 80% line and the price phase indicator is decreasing. In this strongly downtrending market this is an indication that the downtrend will continue.  

Confirmed down signal 5-95 on 10/18/2018 these primary rules fires

The market closing average has dropped below the 21 day exponentially smoothed average price.  At the  same time, accumulation is decreasing. In this down trending market, this is taken as a very bearish signal that could be followed by further decreases in price.  

 

The price phase indicator is positive but volume distribution has started to advance. This is a nonconformation that, regardless of the type of market, is a bearish signal which usually results in an downward movement of the market. 

DJIA with 2 more down signals confirmed by phase

Unconfirmed up signal on 10/16/18 – phase did not change direction


Volume accumulation percentage is increasing and the 21 day stochastic has moved above the 20% line. In this downtrending market, this is taken as a   strong bullish signal that could be followed by an upward price movement. 


The price phase indicator is negative but volume accumulation has started to advance.  This is a  non-conformation that, regardless of the type of market, is a bullish signal which usually results in an upward movement of the market. 

The new high/new low indicator has reversed to the upside. This is a reliable bullish signal that is often followed by an upward movement in prices. In this weak downtrending market an uptrend could  start shortly. 



DJIA on 10/16/18 97-3 up no phase confirmation


Confirmed up signal 10/31/18 98-2


The 21 day stochastic has advanced and crossed the 20% line and the price phase indicator is also in- creasing.  In this weakly downtrending market this is taken as a strong bullish signal suggesting an increase in prices. 


Volume accumulation percentage is increasing and the 21 day stochastic has moved above the 20% line. In this downtrending market, this is taken as a strong bullish signal that could be followed by an upward price movement. 


The new high/new low indicator has reversed to the upside. This is a reliable bullish signal that is often followed by an upward movement in prices. In this weak downtrending market an uptrend could  start shortly. 

DJIA on 10/31/18 with confirmed up signal 98-2

 

While never perfect, the Expert rating provides a formidable advantage to the trader looking for signs of direction changes in the market. As of 11/7/18 close the DJIA was at 26180

 

DJIA as of 11/7/18

NASDAQ dive

Working on some slides for a seminar last week, it was apparent that breadth indicators on the NASDAQ signaled a divergence from the price action of the market.
Looking specifically at AD Ind and HI/LO, although other breadth measures told the same tale.

The AD indicator explained

 

The Advance/Decline Indicator is an exponentially weighted average of the net advancing versus declining issues. With this indicator, the direction of the trend is of importance and not the actual value of the indicator. When the indicator is increasing, advances are outweighing declines, and when it is decreasing, there are more declining is­sues than advancing.
The  Advance/Decline Indicator is a breadth indicator very similar to the Advance/Decline Line.  However, this indicator tends to be more sensitive and at times will signal a move earlier than the Advance/Decline Line.
The breadth was telling us something was amiss from last week. Take a look at this chart of the NASDAQ clearly a divergence was in place before the downturn.
Today’s (10-10-18) 316 point drop in the NASDAQ a 4% drop and nearly 9% drop from the high is close to the 10% corrective point and some buyers may come in over the next few days and keep the decline in check or not.
The markets are down between 6 and 10% in 5 days. Keeping good stops is a must in your portfolio to protect you from the worst of this. Using trailing stops between 7 and 10 % on stocks that are moving and protective stops 5 to 7 % below initial investment for example can easily reduce your losses in these volatile markets.