Markets test support and bounce back

Market outlook for October 4th

More downside for stocks as the ISM services data falls to 52.6% well off the 56.4% reading for August. The good news is the selling led to a test of the key support levels near the August lows and the 200 DMA. That was followed by the buyers stepping in for a solid rebound and close on the upside. I see this more as a relief bounce and the potential for further downside is still in place. There could be opportunities near term in the bounce and we will watch for what opportunities are presented. Jobs report is out Friday and we watch how that number impacts investors as expectations are not great. Manage the risk as it unfolds and take what the market offers.

The S&P 500 index closed up 23.1 points to 2910 as the index finds support and buyers set in for a bounce. The economic data showed further contraction with the ISM services falling.. Eleven of the eleven sectors closed higher on the day with technology and energy leading the move. The downside was led by telecom. Plenty of questions remain relative to how the downside unfolds with the sellers still present. The long-term trend will be challenged if the downside finds momentum.

The NASDAQ index closed up 87.1 points at 7872. The index tested the 200 DMA and bounced to close back above the 7850 level. The head and shoulder pattern is something to watch on the chart. Questions remain relative to growth stocks and large caps have now turned lower adding to the technical breaks on the charts despite the bounce. QQQ reflects the struggles with a break of the $187 support and failed to recapture that level on the bounce. A move below that level offered a short side trade. The $180.28 mark is a key level of support looking forward.

Small-Cap Index (IWM) The sector had been leading the upside effort with money rotating into the growth stocks… that changed this week as we move back below the $152.28 support. Watching how this unfolds as we hit our stops locked in a small gain on our position. Sector continues to struggle with no real gain on Monday. The downside accelerated on Tuesday dropping 2%. Raised our stop on the short side trade. Wednesday added to the downside move and support at the $144.65 level was tested on Thursday. Sold 1/4 of position on morning drop and bounce with stop remaining on balance.

Transports (IYT) The sector forfeited the move above the $192.42 resistance, but faded as earnings and warnings in the sector push the sector back below the $186.70 level of support. We hit our stop on positions locking in modest gains. Watching how this unfolds near term. Tried to bounce on Monday, but failed to follow through. Follow through on the downside move offering short side entry at $185.45. Tested $176 support… watching and adjusted stop to $180. Sold 1/3 of position on morning decline and bounce Thursday. Stop remains on balance.

The dollar (UUP) The dollar moved higher as the Fed comments on further rate cuts say no more cuts this year. Watching how it responds going forward as it hits near term highs. Closed at $27.01. The buck struggled on Tuesday dropping back to Friday’s close and watching how this unfolds. Teseted support and bounced on Thursday.

The Volatility Index (VIX) closed at 17.2 as worries remain in play. The index had some big intraday volatility the last week after hitting the lowest levels in seven weeks previously… the activity/rumor mill is picking up. Watching how this unfolds near term. Monday declined to 16.2 as buyers step in on the day. Tuesday jumped to 18.5 as the uncertainty and anxiety rise for investors. UVXY entry $27. Stop $28.59 (adjusted). The index climbed to 20.5 on Wednesday and adjusted stop. Opened higher then declined with the rally on Thursday. Sold half at $31.20 and stop remains on balance.

KEY INDICATORS/SECTORS & LEADERS TO WATCH: 

MidCap (IJH) The sector moved to the July highs and is now testing the move. Watching how this unfolds. Failed to hold the $193.35 support. Sector joined the broad markets with solid bounce on Monday… reversed and closed below the $190.44 support showing downside risk. Wednesday tested the $186 level as the downside accelerated. Thursday tested the low and bounced again.

Biotech (IBB) Tested support at $101 bounced, failed to hold the move and reconfirmed the downtrend from July high. Breaks the $101 level of support and setting ups a short side trade opportunity. LABD entry $22.75. Stop $25.25 (Stop Hit). More struggles for the sector and remains below the $101 level. Accelerated on Tuesday & Wednesday on the downside and adjusted our stop. Thursday bounced with the markets. Sold 1/3 early at $27. Balance hit stop.

Semiconductors (SOXX) The sector bounced, cleared $210.92 resistance and moved back to the July highs. The last two weeks has tested the move and broke support at $210.92 on Friday. Watching how this unfolds with the short side setting up. Nice bounce on Monday to start the week. Tuesday tested key support and watching how this plays with the downside opportunity. Broke support on Wednesday at the 50 DMA. $207 level to watch if we bounce Thursday.

Software (IGV) The sector is trying to remain in the trading range, but showed weakness on Friday dropping 2.2% and testing the 200 DMA. Short side setup in place. Found some buyers on Monday to bounce off the bottom on of the trading range. Tuesday retested the bottom of the range… setting up short side trade. Broke the 200 DMA and the key support at $208 offering a short side trade at that mark. Bounced off lows on Thursday and watching how it plays out.

REITs (IYR) The upside trend remains on the long-term chart. Patience with our long term positions and short term watching how interest rate market unfolds. Bounced back from the selling and holding near the current highs. Held near the highs. Tuesday sold back to support. Tested the 50 DMA on Wednesday and bounced. Followed up on the bounce Thursday. Watching.

Treasury Yield 10 Year Bond (TNX) were moving higher on the rate cuts by the Fed… then the global economic worries pushed rates lower as money rotates back towards bonds. The yield closed at 1.67% Friday down from 1.95% just two weeks ago. Rumor mill making money nervous and looking for safety. Watching how this one unfolds near term. No real change on Monday. Wednesday moved to 1.59% breaking lower as money rotates to safety. Thursday fell to 1.53% showing flight continues.

Crude oil (USO) The Saudi bombing impact has disappeared as supply returned faster than expected. Watching support at $52.50 and resistance at $58.25. Moved back below $58.25 support? Tested $55.60 on the downside move. Watching the downside effect. Moved lower to the $54 level as supply worries rise again. Tested $52.51 level of support and testing the previous lows. Tested the August lows and bounced back to Wednesday’s close.

Gold (GLD) The upside in gold has been driven on speculation of the rate cuts and global weakness overall. The tug-o-war of tariffs, rate cuts, and speculation are keeping gold in play and in a current trading range. The metal moved lower the last three days back to the lower end support at $140.37. Breaks support and then bounced Tuesday & Wednesday on the negative news about the economy. $142 level to clear.

Emerging Markets (EEM) Broke lower in the trading range as tariff threats add to the worries about an economic slowdown. China helped by announcing trade talks would resume in October… China canceled the trip to the heartland and sector reacts. President Trump rumored to talk about delisting all Chinese stocks from US markets. Too much news driving the sector for my taste. Sold lower on the week offering a short side trade entry. We didn’t trade it as news driven speculation is not my cup of tea. Modest bounce Monday and then added to the downside testing the $40.25 level of support. Relief bounce on Thursday… watching.

China (FXI/YANG) the country ETF is a good benchmark for what is taking place with the current news and tariffs. The move lower over the last week is a result of the chatter from China and the US about tariffs. Throw in the delisting of Chinese stocks and the downside accelerated. Watching how this unfolds currently. We already held a short side position with YANG. Entry $55.90. Stop $56 (adjusted). Modest bounce and then moved lower testing the next level of support. Relief bounce on Thursday… watching.

(The notes above are posted every weekend and updated daily Bold Italics)

DAILY SCANS FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND RISK MANAGEMENT

THURSDAY’s Scan for October 3rd: Markets tested lower as expected. The bounce materialized at the 200 DMA as it should… volume on the weaker side for the bounce… but, we will let it play out. If the bounce unfolds it will offer some short term trading opportunities, but the downside is still in play. Looking for more clarity overall, but the data continues to validate the downside worries. Took some gains on short side trades and raised the stops on the balance. Looking at how Friday unfolds with jobs report out and the bounce in play. Manage your strategy not the news.

  • Small Caps (IWM/TZA) Sold another 25% at $51.50 (1/2 total) again on the morning drop. Stop remains at $50 on balance.
  • Volatility Index (VIX/UVXY) Sold 1/2 at the opening drop at $31.20 and holding stop on remaining position.
  • Managing stops on balance of short side trades.
  • Bounce could be a relief move as we test key support at the 200 DMA and the August lows… opportunities may materialize short term, but the bias is still on the downside.
  • Revers in natural gas (UNG/UGAZ). Watching for follow through.

WEDNESDAY’s Scan for October 2nd: More negative data from the ADP report on jobs and the market added to the downside move. Too much too soon? Watching to see how deep the conviction is on the downside move. The VIX is not as elevated as you would expect on the selling. We could see some buyers step in on Thursday… but, the jobs report is on Friday and I don’t expect that to be a lifesaver for stocks. Not to mention the ISM services data is out on Thursday. Plenty of data news and not enough belief things are getting better… Sellers could gain control near term. We adjusted our stops on short side trades and looking for the next move from investors.

  • Financials (XLF) ugly is all I can say on the move the last two days. Broke $26.90 support on the close as the downside erases the move to the July highs. FAZ stop raised to $36.25.
  • Volatility Index (UVXY) added to the upside move and adjusted stop.
  • NASDAQ 100 Index (QQQ/SQQQ) entry hit at $34. Stop $32.75.
  • Dow (DIA/DXD) short side in play and adjusted the stop to $26.75.
  • Small Caps (IWM/TZA) adjusted our stop to $50 on gap higher. Sold 25% of trade at the $51.50 mark.

TUESDAY’s Scans for October 1st: Negative reaction to the ISM manufacturing data… Major indexes break the 50 DMA, look at the next level of support, but the internal numbers didn’t show excessive selling. Raises questions of emotions versus logic in the markets currently. The VIX jumped, but not to levels of fear showing up. We have to focus on what the market offers technically at this point in time and trade with a defined strategy in place. We have open short positions that benefitted from the move lower and long positions that hit stops on Tuesday. End result we have to manage the process and let this all unfold. Take what is offered, manage the risk, and don’t trade with emotions.

  • Small Caps (IWM/TZA) entry $45. stop $47.60. Added trade on Friday and managing the risk with tight stop for now.
  • Biotech (IBB/LABD) downside accelerated last week adding the short side trade $23.40… adjusted our stop $25.50. Letting this unfold.
  • Natural Gas (UNG/DGAZ) raised stop $136. Letting it run. ($105 entry have room to let this unfold.)
  • Energy (XLE/ERY) raised stop $49. Downside accelerated on Tuesday and letting this run.
  • VIX Index (VIX/UVXY) upside opportunity as money moves towards safety and anxiety rises.
  • Watching the downside opportunities unfold in QQQ, XLF, XLB, DIA, SPY, EEM, FXI, and others.

MONDAY’s Scans for September 30th: The buyers stepped in on the day, but not with great conviction as seen in the volume. The week will unfold with plenty of data. The downside is showing up in several sectors as stated above… the questions are big… and data will play a big role in the coming weeks as earnings, economic, and global data all converge. Watching and taking what the markets offer… one day at a time.

  • Crude Oil (USO/SCO) the downside in crude continues as supply data is being hit by Saudi Arabia production coming back on line faster than expected. Hit entry on SCO at $15.65.
  • Inside day for SPY, QQQ, XLK, IGV, SOXX others. Watching for follow through if the upside is to have any chance.
  • Energy (XLE/ERY) downside playing out after breaking support at $61. Raised stop to protect positions.
  • Natural Gas (UNG/DGAZ) short side trade gaining traction and raised our stop on the positions.
  • Gold Miners (GDX/DUST) short side trade added to the upside move. Managing the risk of our trade taken last week.

FRIDAY’s Scans for September 27th: Rumors of delisting Chinese stocks in the US markets sent some towards the exits and pushed ETFs and listed Chinese companies lower on the day. Not a great end to the week and the technical look on the charts deteriorated showing some short-side trades and breaks of key support levels. Watching how this unfolds and which opportunities meet our risk profile and strategies.

  • Small Caps (IWM/TZA) downside entry at $45. The negative momentum towards growth stocks showed up all week. Trade position as we manage risk. Stop $45.65.
  • Software (IGV) broke support with negative signs on the chart. Short $211.04. Stop $213. Watching the 200 DMA.
  • Semiconductors (SOXX/SOXS) setup on the short-side. Looking for follow through next week.
  • NASDAQ 100 (QQQ/SQQQ) broke key support on Friday amid the news driven day… watching for follow through on Monday.
  • Continued trades adjusted… DGAZ, SCO, YANG, TMF
  • Additional opportunities to watch… TECS, DUST, UVXY, ZSL, EDZ, DRIP, RXD, GLL, GREK

(The Scans are done daily and left on the page for one week to allow you to see the progression of the opportunities or warnings.)

Sector Rotation of S&P 500 Index:

  • XLB – Basic Materials broke support at the $55.95 level and reversed and moved back to the July highs… watching. Broke $58.13 support. Big move lower breaking near term support. Broke $55.95 support again? Held on Thursday.
  • XLU – Utilities broke from the trading range and moved higher. Support is at the $62.50 mark. Collecting the dividend and letting it play out. Broke to new highs showing rotation to safety. Downside move joining the broad indexes on the downside.
  • IYZ – Telecom held support at $27.62. Hit entry at $28.70 and testing the move higher. Stop $29.40 (stop hit). Moved lower breaking support at $29.35. Testing the 200 DMA. Big move lower breaking lower to the next support at $28.62 and looking to test $27.63.
  • XLP – Consumer Staples held support and the uptrend line. Watching how this unfolds near term. Testing the current highs. Nice gain on Monday to help the cause. Breaks 50 DMA and support… watching.
  • XLI – Industrials moved back to support in the trading range and bounced clearing $76.80 resistance. Testing support with several down days. Broke below the $75.72 level of support and tested $74.17.
  • XLE – Energy broke support at $60.50. Watching how the downside unfolds. Heading lower following the drop in crude oil. Adding to the downside move with crude moving lower. Retest of the August lows. Adjusted stop on ERY $52.50.
  • XLV – Healthcare held support… small bounce higher and now more testing to the downside. Watching how it unfolds. Weakness in IHF, IHE, IBB, not helping. Nice gain on Monday. Negative move on Tuesday and Wednesday short side trigger at $88.50. Bounced on Thursday.
  • XLK – Technology tested lower bounced and tried to move to new highs. Failed with selling in the semiconductors. Watching the short side setup. Nice gain on Monday. Negative move on Tuesday & Wednesday and tested the support at $77.90. Thursday bounce in play.
  • XLF – Financials have been under pressure with lower interest rates and global weakness. Hit entry $27.60. Stop $27.75. Showing some positive on the week. Big downside move on Tuesday as markets deal with reality of slowing economic picture. Added to the move lower on Wednesday and raised stop on short side trade FAZ.
  • XLY – Consumer Discretionary moving higher on earnings… gapped higher and then tested the move to the July highs. Watching how we progress. Broke support at the $119.25 mark and watching.
  • IYR – REITs held the $88 support and cleared the 90.80 resistance. Holding near the highs for now. Tested support on Wednesday and bounced.

There are currently six sectors in confirmed short term uptrend. Two sectors in consolidation or sideways trends. Three in a confirmed downtrend. The result is SPY in a confirmed sideways trend. The test at the July highs is weakening on the downside. We have to remain patient and let this all unfold. Remember the parts make up the whole.

(The notes above are posted Weekly based on the activity of the previous weeks trading. The BOLD/ITALIC comments are current day changes worth noting.)

FINAL NOTES:

Thursday: More selling to start the day and then the relief bounce. What unfolds from here is the key. Lower high in September as we failed to eclipse the July highs for starters. Retest of the August lows and a bounce. Weaker data in place for Q3. Downside bias supported by the data. Fed is fully engaged in supporting economy. This comes down to patience and taking what the market gives. I expect more up and down consolidation on the charts. There will be opportunities in the swings of emotions have a strategy to capture them or stay out of harms way. Disciplined approach only to the current environment.

Wednesday: More negative data for stocks from the ADP jobs data. The reality of the data points is starting to sink in and the sellers are gaining control near term. Watching how Thursday unfolds with the buyers. ISM services data due along with the jobs report on Friday. Not setting up to be a positive day for stocks. You can see importance of money management during time of uncertainty and volatility. Watching how the near term unfolds, but also paying attention to the longer term trends. 2755 is level to watch on the S&P 500 index relative to the long term charts.

Tuesday: Not a good day for stocks as investors see the reality of a slowing economic outlook with manufacturing posting a second month of contraction in the sector. Reality is always present it is just a matter of how long it takes us to believe it. Hope is always the default emotion for investors following optimistic periods… the last default is reality. The economic picture has been slowing since last September… a year later some are starting to believe it. The prop or hope for the market is the Fed and liquidity. They are engaged, but is it too little too late? Watching and trading accordingly.

Monday: Solid gain for the broad indexes as we start the week on a positive note. There are plenty of question marks for the markets to deal with as we head to a week full of data from economic to earnings. Taking it one day at a time as the challenge remains for stocks. Earnings will be one big hurdle to jump as they start to report and analyst measure the impact of the tariffs and slower spending from the consumer.

Markets found enough buyers to break from the five-week trading range and make a run at the July highs. Test of the move deepened this week leaving plenty of question marks for me. Some pressure on Friday from the rumored discussion of delisting Chinese stocks from the White House. The close Friday left plenty of questions we addressed above. I continue to raise the question about the conviction behind the move. There is a test of the break higher, but I still have my doubts about the move. Thus, managing our risk. Small caps took on a leadership role on the upside and now doing so on the downside as buyers quickly abandon growth stocks. The treasury bonds took a hit as money rotated out of bond and yields climbed to 1.95%, but this week money found its way back with yields at 1.67%. The risk remains high for upside opportunities as the underlying data remains weak. The market remains controlled by headlines as each day holds movement related to the speculation of what might happen. Trade with China and the US remains at the top of the list with both making interesting statements. Throw in Brexit and other global issues and you get the picture. The economic data showed mixed news and earnings show impact to tariffs with specific sectors. There are still too many questions unanswered and that invites speculation and volatility. Speaking of volatility the index bounced back above 17 after a brief stay at the 13 level. We remain focused on what is working and what is failing. Therein lies the opportunities. Manage your risk accordingly and let this unfold… one day at a time.

Disciplined entry and exit points allow you to manage your risk in up or downtrends. Investing and trading is a matter of a defined strategy implemented with discipline. It is not magic. It is not being a prophet. It is about following your strategy one day at a time. 

“Vision without action is a daydream… Action without vision is a nightmare.” Japanese proverb

The goal of these notes is to allow you, the investor, to learn how to see the market development as the progression through the sector develop based on news, speculation, and data. Data drives long-term results and develops trends… speculation and news are short-term drivers and offer higher risk trading opportunities. Through the use of both technical and fundamental data, we can have greater confidence in our trading strategies with a disciplined approach to investing and managing the risk of our money.