The SPX remains in a cyclical bull dating back to early 2009. However, progress of the strong
leg up from autumn, 2011 has grown more halting. After reaching a dramatic overbought on the
weekly chart near mid - 2014, the momentum of the SPX has deteriorated gracefully but per-
sistently, and now has now slowed to a crawl. SPX Weekly
Very supportive uptrend lines dating back to the fall of 2011 and Oct. 2014 have been violated
and although the market has not been overbought for months, it has become very tightly range
bound and gives the appearance of being "toppy". There are a growing number of good quality
technicians and strategists who are concerned the SPX is moving toward an intermediate term
breakdown. The persistency of the erosion in price momentum mitigates against an imminent
negative turn but can easily lead one to conclude that a negative adjustment is immanent and
perhaps not that far off in time.
Not all the bulls have the same perspective, and there is a goodly cluster of players who think
the market can "thread the needle" and eventually develop an additional leg up without having
a nasty or deep price correction. The case they represent has it that the economy will regain
positive traction and that any cyclical acceleration of inflation will be mild enough to lead the
Federal Reserve to boost short rates in a way that is spaced out enough and slow enough
as to not substantially undercut the SPX p/e ratio as profits recover positive momentum. They
see the Fed as being in "fine tuning" mode with the FOMC desiring to gradually restore
monetary policy toward more normal footing without triggering off a disruptive stampede out
of fixed income securities. Moreover, the guys know 2016 is a national election year and
may be figuring, wisely I think, that the Fed may desire to avoid calling too much attention to
Itself next year.
This sort of fancy reasoning tends to come along in the latter stages of a bull market and is
often quite beguiling. It also helps explain why the market has not sold off sharply already in
anticipation of further credit tightening, and highlights the need many players have to see first
whether the economy can regain sufficient momentum to trigger off Fed tightening alarm bells.
How's that for tap dancing around an issue?
- Peter Richardson
- Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!