Health of the Market  (2/24/2024)

The charts will be updated by   every Saturday. When no change to text, [NC] will be used. Click for favorite investment websites. This site is part of Charlottesville's The Center at Belvedere Investors' Forum. Note: If the latest date does not show here or on charts, try reloading the page or clearing cached images.


[NC]  The indicators for the equity market show a up market within a bull cycle in a bull trend, and in a bull market (see definitions on Longer Term page). The plot of the advancing stocks less the declining stocks on the NYSE is moving up after a divergence with the cap-weighted indexes, which means most of the stocks are now going up.  Click here to check it out.

The S&P 500 rallied during the back half of this week to reach a new all-time record close. The index is currently up 7.29% year to date and has set a new record closing high 13 times so far this year.

The S&P 500 index closed up 1.66% for the week, after being down 0.42% the previous week. The Nasdaq index closed up 1.40% for the week, after being down 1.34% the previous week.  The small caps closed down 0.88% for the week, after being up 1.16% the previous week.

77.2% of S&P 500 stocks were above their 200-day exponential moving averages, up from 73.0% the week before.  75.4% of these stocks were above their 50-day EMAs, up from 69.4% the week before.  51.4% of Nasdaq stocks were above their 50-day EMAs, down from 56.8% the week before (see chart)

A Bull Cycle started the week ending 11/10 after a short bear cycle that started 10/20. The previous bull cycle started 3/17/2023. A Bull Trend was signaled 11/17. A VIX Buy Alert occurred on Thursday 11/2, and the Bullish Percent Buy Alert was signaled on 11/3, both shown on the Market Status page.  Charts for the fourth year of the presidential cycle are shown on the Cycles page.  March has not been good in the fourth year, however, it is good in general.

[NC]  There is a chart way below comparing the capitalization-weighted S&P 500 with the equal-weighted S&P 500.  This table gives another view of the impact of the Magnificent 7 stocks. It compares the 7 largest stocks with the other 493 stocks in the S&P 500.



[NC]  The 10-year Treasury yield is below the 2-year AND the 3-month yield, which is an inverted yield curve. This generally precedes a recession by several months.  See more on the Income page. The Power Zone, the favorable time of the year, started on November 3. The Power Zone typically starts sometime in October and ends sometime in May. See the Market Cycles page for more.

[NC]  This website follows the markets and does not presume to factor in economic conditions. Buyer beware!

[NC]  Market timing is discussed on the Observations page -- does it work?  Consider dollar-cost-averaging over a month or so to gain access to the market -- if you have missed the buy-low point (which most people do).

[NC]  A three-month performance chart of the Nasdaq QQQ exchange-traded fund is below. QQQ delivers a mash-up of tech, growth and large-cap exposure that excludes financial stocks. The fund and index are rebalanced quarterly and reconstituted annually.


[NC]  The CNN Fear & Greed Index gives an interesting perspective on the internals of the market. The trend of the components of this index are important to gauge the trends of the market.

[NC]  A measure to determine if the price is too high relative to the underlying earnings is the Schiller price to earning ratio. This is the current price divided by the 10-year average of "real" (inflation-adjusted) earnings. This ratio corresponds quite well to the peaks of price as shown by charts on this site.

[NC]  John Murphy of StockCharts.com asks "Why do we look at charts?" - They provide the most up-do-date information on the state of the stock market. They may also be telling us something about the fundamental reports we won't be getting until much later. Charts track forward-looking markets, while fundamental data is backward looking. It's always safer to look out of the front window of your car while driving to see where you're going. Not the back window that shows you where you've already been."

[NC]  A chart from 1870 that shows the major market swings can be seen here.


Stock Market Action

[NC]  The large-capitalization S&P 500 index is shown with its gray Bollinger Bands below. The bands are two standard deviations above & below a 20-day simple moving average. When the price goes above or near the edge of the upper Bollinger Band a downswing in price is likely as the market is overbought. Similarly, when the price goes below the lower band, the market is oversold, and an upswing is likely. The 14-day RSI is a measure of the price momentum. Above 50 indicates positive momentum.  A divergence with price is an indication that the price trend is likely to change.

A Head & Shoulders Top formed with a broken neckline that indicates a drop to the next resistance level around 4190 is likely, which did occur. Traditionally the 6% move from the July peak to the neckline means that a similar downside move would be a minimum downside objective of around 4080. That occurred also and the pattern move is over. The huge advance since the October low had a big boost from the Fed announcements. The market went up to an S&P 500 new all-time high. There was great enthusium over the good Nvidia earnings report.

[NC]  The S&P 500 index is a capitalization-weighted index, meaning the larger cap stocks are given the most weight in the index.  Market cap is calculated by multiplying the number of stock shares a company has outstanding by its current stock price. The stocks in the index include companies in eleven sectors to offer a picture of the health of the U.S. stock market.  However, the six largest companies make up 27% of the value of the index.  These are Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Nvidia, Alphabet (Google) and Meta (Facebook).  To get a clearer picture of what all the 500 stocks are doing, an equal-weight index can be used. Less the six high-flying tech stocks, the other 494 have not been doing as well. 

[NC]  The chart below shows an equal-weight performance version of the S&P 500 (RSP) in red together with the cap-weighted version (SPY) in black. The moving averages are for RSP. The percentage scale shows that the equal-weight version has dropped more than the cap-weight version since the peak on July 31. This is shown by the percentage curve at the bottom that was rising during this time. Since the low on March 13 at the beginning of the chart, the SPY rose 13.6% more than the equal-weight RSP, which is a negative indication for the market. Now the relative performance of the SPY is falling slightly -- a good sign as the average stock is keeping up with the large caps.



[NC]  Small-cap stocks, represented by the iShares Russell 2000 Small Cap ETF (IWM), are not typically traded by computerized programs. They are traded by individuals and as such offer us a look at what individual investors are thinking instead of the big trading firms. Small caps hitting a new low tells us investors are selling, continuously selling. Not a good thing for the stock market looking forward.  From FibTimer.com.

The small-caps broke out from a symmetrical triangle on Friday 2/9 on highish volume. This is a good indication that they will go higher, taking the market with them. A typical pull-back to the triangle apex occurred twice before moving higher.  


The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index is headed back up, after a second small two-day correction.


[NC]  Sector investing via exchange traded funds (ETFs) is popular. The traders rotate between sectors. To see how some popular sector ETFs are doing, click here for the Candle Glance of two-month charts. The charts include the StockCharts Technical Ranking (SCTR). The sector ETFs used in the Candle Glance are these.

[NC]  Here is a map of popular ETFs arranged in significant groups.  This link gives gain or loss in a week with a small chart when you hover over the group.

[NC]  The international bond market is provided by the WSJ. See the Income tab for a chart of U.S. Treasury yields. 2020 ended with the 10-year treasury note at 0.93% and the 2-year note yield was 0.13%.

[NC]  The stock markets in other countries can diversify a portfolio. To participate in these markets, the U.S. dollar can be hedged out. Click to check out the country hedged ETFs and the un-hedged ETFs.

[NC]  Note that BSE SENSEX is an India index, CAC 40 is France, FTSE 100 is a UK index, Nikkei 225 is Japan, Hang Seng is Hong Kong, DAXK is Germany, and Shanghai is, of course, Shanghai.




Dollar Influence


The dollar ($USD) and the 10-year Treasury rate ($TNX /10) are shown in a 6-year chart with weekly closing prices. The earlier dollar rise peaked in March 2020. The quick 10.8% drop ended with a double bottom in the spring of 2021. The huge 25.7% rally since then corrected with a 12.3% drop and then a correction and consolidation of that drop.

[NC]  A falling dollar has a positive influence on the U.S. market, especially large cap multinationals, as prices for our customers overseas are less expensive. However, a weaker dollar makes product imports (some in the supply chains) get more expensive. This has a negative effect on revenue for technology companies.

[NC]  The 10-year Treasury rate rose to a peak on 10/5/2018 and 11/8/2018 closing at 3.23% both times. It hit a low in March and August 2020 around 0.5%. Now it is on a long-term rise.

[NC]  Ed Yardeni in the 2/9/19 Barron's stated that, based on his 40 years of experience, he has never found that supply-versus-demand analysis helped much in forecasting bond yields.  It's always been about actual inflation, expected inflation, and how the Fed was likely to respond to both.

[NC]  Also shown is the CRB Commodities Index, which is a measure of inflation. This index is an unweighted geometric average of prices across 17 commodities including energy, grains, industrials, livestock, precious metals, and agriculturals. 

[NC]  The price of gold had risen dramatically until the 2-year pull-back. The gold and silver miners ETFs (GDX and SIL) had gone up even more. Now the drop in the dollar is allowing the price of gold to rise again.






Long-Term Overview

[NC]  The Federal Reserve controls the Federal Funds Rate, which is the interest rate at which banks lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight on an uncollateralized basis. It also tends to effect longer-term rates. On 3/15/2020 an emergency rate cut set the benchmark interest rate between 0% and 0.25%. Then the Fed is raising the rate as shown in the chart.

[NC]  The chart gives an overview of the situation. The market had done well since the termination of the QE3 Fed bond buying, until the last half of 2015. The 10-year Treasury rates moved down as the Fed raised the over-night Federal Funds Rate in December 2015. There were a total of nine 1/4 point rate increases, the last one in December of 2018. The Fed cut the rate at its July 2019 meeting, and more cuts followed as shown below. In May 2022 the Fed started to raise the rate to slow the economy to fight inflation.The rate increases have now halted and there is speculation as to when they might start falling.  A chart of various Treasury yields since 1962 are shown on the Income tab.

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The source of the charts is located on the upper right of the chart. This page is for amusement only, and should not be taken as advice to buy or sell anything.