A Nice Rounded Bottom

After being crushed by more than 60% (peak to trough) over the past year, Chinese retail giant, JD.com. JD, looks worthy of your investment dollar consideration. Not being a fan of v-shaped bottoms, those that base sideways or (preferably) in a saucer-shaped, rounded bottom pattern, have the potential of being much longer-term winners and as such, are more desirable. As you can see in the one-year daily chart of JD below, that is exactly what has taken shape. It’s not just the shape of the set-up but also the volume confirmation (bottom pane) that is occurring. On the way down, the biggest volume bars were red telling us of institutional distribution (follow the money). Eventually, the red bars begin to get smaller and then replaced by big green ones, indicative of institutional accumulation (follow the money).  Protracted moves in either direction must be accompanied by institutional activity otherwise their longevity becomes suspect.  

In addition to price and volume, RSI momentum is above 50 and rising. While its 200-day moving average is still declining, it is flattening. Price is currently above its rising 50-day moving average all the hallmarks of what you need to see in an early trend reversal

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A confirmed break of the green horizontal saucer neckline points to a target at T1 some 25% above. A resurgence in the Chinese economy (brought on by an end to the trade-war perhaps?) could push the stock back up to last year’s highs, offering the potential for a 90% winner. With investment capital recently flowing into emerging markets, including China, a continuation or worsening of US-China relations would likely turn this potentially big winner into something quite the opposite. Invest accordingly.   

Your Turn

Those long-term followers know I use ratio charts as a part of my process, mostly to help determine where best to allocate investment capital. As with investment prices, trends persist when it comes to outperformance (ratios). The chart below I call “Risk On” is a ratio of the US SP500 stock index performance to US 30-year treasury bonds and its message helps define current risk levels. If the ratio is rising, risk is low and you have achieved (and will likely continue due to trend persistence) the best return by investing in US stocks only. If the ratio is falling, risk is elevated and bonds are out-performing.

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With a quick glance, what should be immediately noticeable is the ratio broke below its rising uptrend support line in November of last year. This occurred at the same time when RSI momentum (upper pane) diverged (both short term and longer term) with the ratio warning of an increase in risk and possible trend change. From that point the ratio was crushed with the strong year-end selloff in stocks.

With stocks rebounding strongly from their massively oversold condition the ratio has, as you would expect, mirrored its move higher. Uninspiringly, the ratio closed out yesterday still below its falling 200-day moving average and has yet to make its first higher low. Looking left we see that the ratio is about the same place it was 12 months ago telling us that stocks and bonds have had a comparative return. Now what?

Closing out this post right here intentionally not providing a summarization or point to the post, I am wondering how you would interpret the charts message? Pile in to stocks gunz a blazin’? Stay on the sidelines in the safety of bonds and let the dust settle? or something in between?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

GOLD – The Possibilities

Viewing the barbarous relic from a very long-term can help filter out the day-to-day noise. As you can see in the 20-year chart below, Gold’s price (the middle pane) was in a strong uptrend that lasted nearly 13 years, ending in 2011. In the bottom pane, you can see in the ratio of performance between gold and the US stock market, gold massively outperformed, exceeding the SP500 by more than 600% at its peak during that uptrend period.

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As you would expect, 2011 not only marked the end of Gold’s uptrend but also its out-performance as stocks have gone on to outperform gold by almost 500%. Investor should be thinking to themselves why be in stocks when gold is outperforming? and vice versa. Diversification?

Gold’s price bottomed at the end of 2015 and has risen slightly since then but has gone nowhere for almost 6 years. Do I need to even say it? It’s been “dead money”. What has caught my attention though, is the saucer bottom that gold’s price has taken on that has formed over that “dead money” period. I shouldn’t have to mention the potential inverse head and shoulders bottom reversal pattern that is in development and screaming out “NOTICE ME”. Please note the word potential as it still has a lot of work to do to get to where it is something more than just “in development”. I have been watching this build out over the course of years and it’s been an agonizing tease as it has failed to breakout above the horizontal resistance zone at least 8 times. As we approach that zone once again, will this time be any different? Or will we get our investment hands slapped once again?

The key for me to over allocate investment capital will be to see at least two things 1) Golds price break out above the pattern’s neckline (blue horizontal resistance area) sooner rather than later before the pattern becomes unsymmetrical and invalid; and 2) a higher high followed by a higher low made on the bottom performance ratio chart. Until then any position in gold is nothing more than a trading vehicle.  

At its current pace, investors will be lucky to see both of these items happen in the near term as such it stays on our radar and is stalked. Besides the potential for a future profitable investment opportunity, the other major take-away’s (something I continue to reinforce every chance I can) are 1) investment themes trend for years as such being able to recognize turning points is key to long term out performance 2) just because an investment opportunity can make you money, it may not be worth your investment capital if it doesn’t outperform your other ideas/holdings.

Advance Decline Line’s Message

The Advance-Decline has proven itself over the years and as such is an important tool when assessing the health of a market. Like all indicators, its never always correct and why it should be used in a weight-of-the-evidence approach.

The Advance-Decline Line (AD Line) is a breadth indicator based on Net Advances, which is the number of advancing stocks less the number of declining stocks. Net Advances is positive when advances exceed declines and negative when declines exceed advances. The AD Line is a cumulative measure of Net Advances. It rises when Net Advances is positive and falls when Net Advances is negative. When comparing the AD Line against the index, the AD Line should confirm an advance or a decline with similar movements. Divergences in the AD Line vs index can signal a potential reversal and worthy of an investor’s attention.

Taking a look at the AD line in 2015 during what we now know turned out to be just a (~19%) correction in a bull uptrend instead of a change in trend, the AD line in the upper pane was still rising, while the stock index in the lower pane was declining. This is an excellent example of bullish divergence …. we all know what happened after the fact (the resumption of the bull market).

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Fast forward to last December’s 20% decline, you can see that the AD line again diverged from the price of the index just like it did in 2015 hinting to expect a continuation of the bullish uptrend instead of a reversal.

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As always, price never goes straight up and we should expect the normal market ebb and flow based upon investors whims especially now as we are so overbought, but any shallow pullback will be viewed as a opportunity to put risk capital back to work, if not already complete.

Got Gas?

The price of Natgas has had a tough time of it since peaking in November of last year as it has since fallen a smidge under 50%. Looking at its chart, it becomes immediately noticeable that it has just reached a very important past level of support. Other than the one time in 2015 when the price pushed lower, this $2.5 area has been a zone of strong support as its price has rebounded each of the past 7 times it has been tested.  

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If an investor wanted to take a nibble here assuming this level will once again act as support, the reward-to risk level is extremely high, well above our 3:1 target with a clear exit if natgas closed and held below $2.4.

Digging a little deeper to try and find a way to increase the edge, taking a look at seasonality over the past 20 years in the chart below, we can see that buying and selling Natgas in February has not provided that edge. Only 45% of the time has Natgas closed higher at the end of February than it was at the beginning. The other perspective is that buying now and holding through April has historically provided a much higher probability for success. Bottom line is, if this investment is worthy of your investment capital be prepared to be patient for any payoff as that will likely occur in April.

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