After trading in a sideways range throughout the morning session, stocks attempted to rally at mid-day, but sellers stepped in during the final two hours and quickly caused most intraday gains to evaporate. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite finished with small losses of 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.3% lower. The one bright spot was in the small and mid-cap arena, where those market segments showed relative strength to the broad market. The small-cap Russell 2000 Index advanced 0.3%, while the S&P Midcap 400 gained 0.9%. Still, it was a relatively uneventful day overall. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.6%, the Nasdaq Composite 0.4%, and the Dow Jones Industrials 0.2%.
Total volume in the NYSE declined by 3%, while volume in the Nasdaq was 6% lower than the previous day’s level. It was the second straight day of declining volume and the fifth consecutive day in which turnover came in below average levels. Given that the major indices were stuck in a narrow trading range throughout last week, it makes sense that volume levels dropped off as well. However, the broad market’s recent price to volume relationship has been on the positive side. The S&P 500 closed lower in four out of five days last week, but volume declined in each of those four sessions. Conversely, the S&P 500 was accompanied by higher volume on the sole day in which the index closed higher (June 21). Given that most of the market’s numerous “down” days over the past seven weeks have been on higher volume, it was bullish to see the lighter turnover in each of the S&P’s four losing days last week. Nevertheless, price action has not yet confirmed the moderately bullish shift in the volume patterns.
In the June 23 issue of The Wagner Daily, we illustrated that both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were sitting at pivotal “make it or break it” levels that would soon force a significant move in one direction or the other. Since prices of both indices were nearly unchanged in Friday’s session, the technical picture remains the same going into today. To refresh your mind, take another look at the daily charts of both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite:
As you can see, both the Nasdaq Composite is running into resistance of its primary downtrend lines, while the S&P will soon do the same. This will inevitably cause the market to soon “show its hand.” Further, volatility has dried up over the past week, causing the major indices to coil up like a spring. The longer this volatility contraction continues, the more powerful the move will be when it eventually comes. The big question, of course, is which direction that move will go. Unfortunately, the market is now giving us mixed signals. The bullish argument is that volume patterns have begun to show a decline in institutional selling and increased demand on the sporadic “up” days. It is also positive that the major indices are still holding above their lows from the June 21 rally. Conversely, the bears can simply point to the fact that the seven-week downtrend lines remain firmly intact. The longer a trend has been in place, the more likely the trend is to continue.
One ETF that has been showing relative strength to the broad market is an international ETF called the iShares Xinhua China 25 (FXI). For those of you who are not familiar with it, FXI mirrors the price of mainland China’s Xinhua 25 Index, their equivalent of our large-cap Dow 30 Index. Note that all the companies in the index are mainland Chinese shares, not those of Hong Kong or Taiwanese companies. Although the S&P and Nasdaq both remain below their seven-week downtrend lines, notice how FXI has already broken out above its equivalent downtrend line:
Unlike the S&P and Nasdaq, FXI is also sitting above its 200-day moving average, which is one less obstacle to overcome on any further rally attempt. If the major indices in the U.S. markets begin to break out above their downtrend lines, you can expect FXI to outperform those indice on the way up. However, FXI is also likely to lose a lower percentage if the U.S. markets head back down to their prior “swing lows.” It may be a bit aggressive to take a position in FXI without confirmation from the U.S. markets, but we definitely recommend putting FXI on your shopping list as an ETF to buy when/if the S&P and Nasdaq break out above their downtrend lines.
Because of the market’s mixed signals and the close proximity of the major indices to their downtrend lines, an extra ounce of caution is required over the next several days. Our near-term bias has also shifted to neutral, so you essentially have two options that make sense — remain on the sidelines, fully invested in cash and ready to strike when the moment is right, or position yourself on both sides of the market. The latter scenario reduces your overall risk by hedging your bets, but also requires the ability and willingness to quickly cut losing positions on the wrong side of the market after stocks establish their next major direction.
There are no new setups for today, as we currently have three open positions.
Daily Performance Report:
Below is an overview of all open positions, as well as a performance report on all positions that were closed only since the previous day’s newsletter. Net P/L figures are based on the $50,000 Wagner Daily model account size. Changes to open positions since the previous report are listed in red text below:
Open positions (coming into today):
TTH long (700 shares from June 15 entry) –
bought 29.09, stop 28.11, target new high (will trail stop), unrealized points = + 0.14, unrealized P/L = + $98
GLD long (250 shares from June 21 entry) –
bought 58.61, stop 55.60, target 63.40, unrealized points = (0.62), unrealized P/L = ($155)
IYT short (300 shares from June 22 entry) –
sold short 84.78, stop 87.13, target 76.45, unrealized points = (1.17), unrealized P/L = ($351)
Closed positions (since last report):
Current equity exposure ($100,000 max. buying power):
No changes to the open positions.
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Click here to view MTG’s past performance results (updated monthly).
Edited by Deron Wagner,
MTG Founder and