On Demand

Waiting for the Great Men...

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to tell us exactly how they are going to manipulate the markets. They appear to be leaning toward mostly bullish jawboning, happy talk, although actions have not followed words. Judging from the slow trading volume and low price volatility, it appears that traders have gown cautious ahead of the central bank pronouncements.

The technical condition of the stock market does not support the optimism of the bullish majority of stock investors and traders.

The S&P 500 (SPX: 1,409.30) fell 1.14 points or 0.08% on Tuesday.

Price momentum oscillators have turned downward, after many of them demonstrated bearish divergences.

NYSE volume rose 7% on Tuesday but was 31% below its 200-day SMA. Volume has been running near the lowest levels of the year since 8/8/12, possibly reflecting diminishing enthusiasm for stocks, as well as summer vacations.

On-Balance Volume for the SPX remains in a downtrend with bearish divergence.

NYSE Cumulative Volume of Advancing Stocks minus Volume of Declining Stocks remains weak relative to price: it recovered only a little more than 61.8% of its March-June loss while the S&P 500 recovered 100%. Clearly, volume has not been confirming the price up move.

It takes volume to push prices up. After the shorts have been forced to cover and the longs have had their fill of buying, in the absence of a fresh source of demand, stocks fall of their own weight.

While the S&P 500 Composite Price Index recovered nearly all of its April-June loss, both the percentage of these same 500 stocks that are above their 200-day SMAs and the percentage in bullish Point-and-Figure Chart uptrends have recovered much less of their losses. Moreover, both are systematically neutral relative to their own 50- and 200-day SMAs. Both indicators turned down last week after failing to confirm the strength in the S&P 500. Both are diverging bearishly.

With the stock price indexes far above their 4-year lows and still very close to the top end of their 4-year price range, downside risk may exceed upside potential for the stock market. Choosing safety over risk appears to be the most reasonable approach for conservative traders and investors.

For extensive coverage of major global markets with illustrative charts, take a free trial for my weekly report --
click here.

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Hedge funds and equity mutual funds both lost money last year, 2011, and some are down again this year as well.

Meanwhile, one money manager made gains for 5 consecutive quarters; see:
Robert W. Colby Asset Management, Inc. (click here).


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Stock Market Indicators

The Dow Theory signaled a Primary Tide Bear Market on 5/17/12 when both Industrials and Transports closed below their closing price lows of the previous 4 months, including the critical lows of March and April, 2012. The Averages gave an early warning by diverging after 2/3/12, as the Transports turned corrective and failed to confirm higher highs by the Industrials. Again on 5/1/12, the Industrials rose to a higher closing price high while the Transports failed to rise to a higher closing price high, thereby indicating a non-confirmation and bearish divergence. Last week, the Industrials closely approached their highs of the year, but the Transports continued to lag well below their highs, thereby demonstrating a bearish divergence. The Transports fell below 50- and 200-day SMAs on 8/27/12, thereby turning systematically bearish again.

NASDAQ 100/S&P 500 Relative Strength Ratio (QQQ/SPY) rose above its 50-day SMA on 8/6/12, thereby turning systematically bullish again. QQQ/SPY remains above its 200-day SMA, and its 50-day SMA has been above its 200-day SMA since 8/5/11.

iShares MSCI BRIC Fund (BKF) Relative Strength Ratio (BKF/SPY) fell below its lows of the previous 3 years on 7/23/12, reconfirming its bearish trend. Short term, BKF/SPY turned systematically bearish again on 8/14/12, when it fell below its 50-day SMA. BKF/SPY remains below its 200-day SMA, and its 50-day SMA has remained below its 200-day SMA every day since 1/13/11.

Emerging Markets Stocks ETF (EEM) Relative Strength Ratio (EEM/SPY) fell below its lows of the previous 3 years on 7/23/12, reconfirming its bearish trend. EEM/SPY turned systematically bearish again on 8/17/12, when it fell below its 50-day SMA. EEM/SPY remains below its 200-day SMA, and its 50-day SMA has remained below its 200-day SMA every day since 2/3/11.

Foreign Stocks ETF (EFA) Relative Strength Ratio (EFA/SPY) reconfirmed a bearish major trend when it fell below its lows of the previous 9 years on 7/24/12. EFA/SPY turned systematically neutral 8/3/12 when it rose above its 50-day SMA. EFA/SPY remains below its 200-day SMA, and its 50-day SMA has remained below its 200-day SMA every day since 1/14/11.

The Largest Cap S&P 100/S&P 500 Relative Strength Ratio (OEF/SPY) rose above its highs of the previous 2 years on 7/31/12, thereby reconfirming its preexisting major bullish trend. OEF/SPY remains systematically bullish above its 50-day SMA, above its 200-day SMA, and the 50-day SMA has been above the 200-day SMA consistently every day since 8/24/11. Large Caps tend to outperform in bearish general market trends as investors seek the perceived relative safety of large size. On the other side of the coin, Large Caps tend to underperform Mid Caps and Small Caps in bullish general market trends as investors prefer riskier and more volatile stocks.

The Small Cap Russell 2000 Index/Large Cap Relative Strength Ratio (IWM/SPY) fell below its lows of the previous 10 months on 8/1/12, thereby confirming its major downtrend. Systematically, the IWM/SPY ratio remains bearish: below its 50-day SMA, below its 200-day SMA, and its 50-day SMA has remained below its 200-day SMA consistently every day since 4/20/12.

The S&P Mid Cap 400/Large Cap Relative Strength Ratio (MDY/SPY) MDY/SPY whipsawed back above its 50-day SMA on 8/28/12, thereby turning systematically neutral again. MDY/SPY remains below its 200-day SMA, and its 50-day SMA has been below its 200-day SMA since 6/6/12.
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The S&P 500 Composite Potential Resistance
1576.09, high of 10/11/2007
1552.76, high of 10/31/2007
1523.57, high of 12/11/2007
1498.85, high of 12/26/2007
1440.24, high of 5/19/2008
1426.68, high of 8/21/2012
1422.38, high of 4/2/2012
1418.71, high of 8/17/2012
1415.32, high of 5/1/2012

The S&P 500 Composite Potential Support
1398.04, low of 8/24/2012
1391.04, low of 8/6/2012
1389.07, Fibonacci 78.6% of April-June 2012 range
1388.71, low of 5/3/2012
1381.50, Fibonacci 78.6% of 2007-2009 range
1380.39, high of 7/19/2012
1374.81, high of 7/3/2012
1372.98, 50-day SMA
1370.58, high of 5/2/2011
1363.49, high of 6/19/2012
1362.93, Fibonacci 61.8% of April-June 2012 range
1357.38, low of 4/10/2012
1355.70, low of 7/2/2012
1344.56, Fibonacci 50% of April-June 2012 range
1340.34, Fibonacci 23.6% of 2011-12 range
1340.03, low of 3/6/2012
1335.80, 200-day SMA
1335.52, high of 6/11/2012
1334.93, high of 5/31/2012
1329.24, low of 7/24/2012
1329.05, high of 6/7/2012
1328.49, high of 5/22/2012
1326.19, Fibonacci 38.2% of April-June 2012 range
1325.41, low of 7/12/2012
1306.62, low of 6/12/2012
1303.47, Fibonacci 23.6% of April-June 2012 range
1291.98, low of 5/18/2012
1289.59, Fibonacci 38.2% of 2011-12 range
1266.74, low of 6/4/2012
1265.26, low of 1/5/2012
1262.30, low of 12/27/2011
1257.58, Fibonacci 61.8% of 2011 range
1248.58, Fibonacci 50.0% of 2011-12 range
1244.80, low of 12/7/2011
1239.73, low of 12/1/2011
1238.81, Fibonacci 78.6% of 1,576.09 high
1234.81, low of 11/3/2011
1231.04, high of 12/16/2011
1228.74, Fibonacci 61.8% of 2007-2009 range
1226.64, low of 11/9/2011
1224.57, high of 12/19/2011
1215.20, low of 12/16/2011
1207.56, Fibonacci 61.8% of 2011-12 range
1202.37, low of 12/19/2011
1158.66, low of 11/25/2011
1121.44, Fibonacci 50% of 2007-2009 range
1074.77, low of 10/4/2011
1149.16, Fibonacci 78.6% R of 2011-12 range
1014.14, Fibonacci 38.2% of 2007-2009 range
1010.91, low of 7/1/2010
991.97, low of 9/2/2009
978.51, low of 8/17/2009
956.23, high of 6/11/2009
881.38, Fibonacci 23.6% of 2007-2009 range
869.32, low of 7/8/2009
666.79, intraday low of 3/6/2009

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About the Author

Robert W. Colby, CMT, is Chairman and Chief Investment Strategist at Robert W. Colby Asset Management, Inc., a New York Registered Investment Advisory firm. His primary objective is to outperform the S&P 500 Index over the long term while taking much less risk by using actively adaptive strategies to effectively manage Rewards and Risks.  His unique Bear Market Protection Systems protect clients when stock prices fall persistently in bearish market trends. Robert is the author of The Encyclopedia of Technical Market Indicators, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2003, which has become the standard reference for indicator and trading systems design. In his 44 years on Wall Street, Robert has worked as a portfolio manager, a research consultant to institutional and private investors and traders, proprietary trader, technical analyst, and fundamental analyst.  For a free trial to his extensive weekly analytical report, see:

http://www.colbyassetmanagement.com/

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