The review of the past year is pretty simple because not much has changed. The stealth bear market we have been telling you about for months and months continues to be masked by a few of the bigger-cap major indices.
Commodities of all stripes topped out in the middle of 2014. They had a few trading rallies but not one has been of consequence. It has been easy to continue to call a bear market in these areas. We would simply continue to avoid at this juncture.
The beginning of this year was nothing special. The biggest problem we had was a bunch of sectors topping out and going into their own private bear markets. That itself is not the end of the world but the action in the middle of the year started to worry us.
During the summer, we simply believed most of the market topped. A quick glance back and you will notice all the advance/decline lines topped out while major indices were still near highs. As soon as that happened, we started to use the words narrower and narrower. All rallies were selective. All drops were ugly. This led us to tell you that the market was topping out and look out below. Subsequently, the market had a mini meltdown. This led to intermediate-term rally which we called on October 2.
Three weeks ago, we started to worry again and specifically told you that the market was starting to act again like it did before the drop during the summer. We then had another drop before the anemic Santa Claus rally. We were and are not impressed.
A bunch of things we remain worried about:
New highs versus new lows remain a joke. There continues to be hardly any leadership.
The short list of leadership sectors in the market are defensive food, drugs, beverages, tobacco, household products water utilities. Thrilled yet.
The NASDAQ advance decline is near yearly lows while the NASDAQ was recently just off it’s highs.
Small and mid-cap areas remain a horror show versus big-cap.
Junk bonds…turning into their name.
And just a little tidbit for you the last time the Dow was down in a pre-election year was 1939. We are not sure that this is good news.
Based on our proprietary scans of thousands of stocks, we count only about 30% of stocks in good shape. This continues to be a weak number that does not auger well for the first part of 2016.
It is at this juncture that we very much need to watch support levels. S&P 500 1993…Dow 17114…NASDAQ 4871…Russell 2000 1108. If they hold, terrific! If they don’t, it is going to get ugly.
We wish we had better news for you going into the new year but we don’t. It is simply a bear market in many areas and many stocks masked by some of the bigger indices. If those indices come in, stealth will become less stealth. Based on our studies of every bull and bear market of the past, odds do favor the indices following suit. Nothing is 100% but we have seen this play before. As always if anything changes for the better, we will gladly report it to you. Hasn’t happened yet.