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S&P 500 Snapshot: Dithering Near the Record High on Mixed Signals

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 traded in a bit of a confused fashion during the morning, oscillating between its 0.23% and -0.23% intraday peak and trough in the first two hours of trading. The Second Estimate of Q3 GDP beat forecasts with its upward revision from 3.5% to 3.9%. But Consumer Confidence unexpectedly dropped, probably not a welcome signal as we approach the holiday shopping season. The index then dithered through the day in a narrow range, the only drama being whether it would log its 47th record close of 2014. It did not, ending the day with a fractional -0.12% decline. But perhaps tomorrow’s close will give us a rationale for an extra helping of Thanksgiving dressing on Thursday.

The yield on the 10-year Note ended the day at 2.27%, its lowest close in over a month (the 2.25% on October 22nd).

Here is a 15-minute chart of the past five sessions.

Here is a daily chart of the index.

A Perspective on Drawdowns

How close was the October dip to an “official” correction, generally defined as a 10% drawdown from a high (based on daily closes)? The chart below incorporates a percent-off-high calculation to illustrate the drawdowns greater than 5% since the trough in 2009.

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For a longer-term perspective, here is a pair of charts based on daily closes starting with the all-time high prior to the Great Recession.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Courtesy of Declan.

It’s unlikely we will be seeing much action over the next few days. I have memories of Thanksgiving Friday been good for bulls, but with holiday trading anything can happen.

The index most likely to enjoy a good holiday break is the Russell 2000.

Accepting KIVA gift certificates to help support the work on this blog. All certificates gifted are converted into loans for those who need the help more.





Visualizing GDP: A Look Inside the Q3 Second Estimate

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: The charts in this commentary have been updated to include the Q3 2014 Second Estimate.


The chart below is my way to visualize real GDP change since 2007. I’ve used a stacked column chart to segment the four major components of GDP with a dashed line overlay to show the sum of the four, which is real GDP itself. Here is the latest overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

Let’s take a closer look at the contributions of GDP of the four major subcomponents. My data source for this chart is the Excel file accompanying the BEA’s latest GDP news release (see the links in the right column). Specifically, I used Table 2: Contributions to Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product.

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Note: The conventional practice is to round GDP to one decimal place, the latest at 3.5. The 3.55 GDP in the chart above is the real GDP calculated to two decimal places based on the BEA chained 2009 dollar data series.


Over the time frame of this chart, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) component has shown the most consistent correlation with real GDP itself. When PCE has been positive, GDP has usually been positive, and vice versa. In the latest GDP data, the contribution of PCE came at 1.51 of the 3.89 real GDP. The Q3 contribution from PCE declined from 1.75 in the previous quarter.

The latest GDP numbers continue to support the general view that the unusually severe winter was a transitory cause of the Q1 GDP contraction rather than fundamental business cycle weakness.

Here is a look at the contribution changes between over the past four quarters. The difference between the two rightmost columns was addressed in the GDP summary quoted above. I’ve added arrows to highlight the quarter-over-quarter change for the major components.

As for the role…
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Real GDP Per Capita Now at 3.1%

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Earlier today we learned that the Second Estimate for Q3 2014 real GDP came in at 3.9 percent (rounded from 3.89 percent), up from 3.5 percent in the Advance Estimate. Real GDP per capita was lower at 3.1 percent (rounded from 3.09 percent).

Here is a chart of real GDP per capita growth since 1960. For this analysis I’ve chained in today’s dollar for the inflation adjustment. The per-capita calculation is based on quarterly aggregates of mid-month population estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which date from 1959 (hence my 1960 starting date for this chart, even though quarterly GDP has is available since 1947). The population data is available in the FRED series POPTHM. The logarithmic vertical axis ensures that the highlighted contractions have the same relative scale.

I’ve drawn an exponential regression through the data using the Excel GROWTH function to give us a sense of the historical trend. The regression illustrates the fact that the trend since the Great Recession has a visibly lower slope than long-term trend. In fact, the current GDP per-capita is 9.3% below the pre-recession trend but fractionally higher than the 10.0% below trend in Q1 of this year.

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The real per-capita series gives us a better understanding of the depth and duration of GDP contractions. As we can see, since our 1960 starting point, the recession that began in December 2007 is associated with a deeper trough than previous contractions, which perhaps justifies its nickname as the Great Recession.

Quarterly GDP Compounded Annual Rate of Change

The standard measure of GDP in the US is expressed as the compounded annual rate of change from one quarter to the next. The current real GDP is 3.9 percent (rounded from 3.89 percent). But with a per-capita adjustment, the data series is currently at 3.1 percent (rounded from 3.09 percent). Both a 10-year moving average and the slope of a linear regression through the data show that the US economic growth has been slowing for decades.

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How do the two compare, GDP and GDP per capita? Here…
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NYSE Margin Debt Declines in October

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through October. I’ve updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.


The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let’s examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.

The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today’s dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the start of the Tech Bubble that shaped investor sentiment during the second half of the decade. The astonishing surge in leverage in late 1999 peaked in March 2000, the same month that the S&P 500 hit its all-time daily high, although the highest monthly close for that year was five months later in August. A similar surge began in 2006, peaking in July 2007, three months before the market peak.

Debt hit a trough in February 2009, a month before the March market bottom. It then began another major cycle of increase. Margin debt hit an all-time high in February of this year.

The latest Margin Data

Unfortunately, the NYSE margin debt data is about a month old when it is published. Following its February peak, real margin declined sharply for two months, -3.9% in March -3.2% in April and was flat in May. It then jumped 5.7% in June, its largest gain in 17 months. July saw a 0.9% decline, but number has drifted higher the two subsequent months, up 0.6% in August and 0.2% in September. However the October level is now 2.2% off the February peak.

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The next chart shows the percentage growth of the two data series from the same 1995 starting date, again based on real (inflation-adjusted) data. I’ve added markers to show the precise monthly values and added callouts to show the month. Margin debt grew at a rate comparable to the market from 1995…
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Market Cap to GDP: The Buffett Valuation Indicator Remains in Levitation Mode

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: I’ve updated this commentary to include today’s release of the Second Estimate for Q3 GDP.


Market Cap to GDP is a long-term valuation indicator that has become popular in recent years, thanks to Warren Buffett. Back in 2001 he remarked in a Fortune Magazine interview that “it is probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.”

The four valuation indicators I track in my monthly valuation overview offer a long-term perspective of well over a century. The raw data for the “Buffett indicator” only goes back as far as the middle of the 20th century. Quarterly GDP dates from 1947, and the Fed’s B.102 Balance sheet has quarterly updates beginning in Q4 1951. With an acknowledgement of this abbreviated timeframe, let’s take a look at the plain vanilla quarterly ratio with no effort to interpolate monthly data.

The strange numerator in the chart title, MVEONWMVBSNNCB, is the FRED designation for Line 39 in the B.102 balance sheet (Market Value of Equities Outstanding), available on the Federal Reserve website. Here is a link to a FRED version of the chart. Incidentally, the numerator is the same series used for a simple calculation of the Q Ratio valuation indicator.

I’ve updated the GDP denominator with the Q3 Second Estimate. The numerator is from the Fed’s Q2 Z.1 Financial Accounts released on September 18th with a linear extrapolation for a Q3 estimate.

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Here is a more transparent alternate snapshot over a shorter timeframe using the Wilshire 5000 Full Cap Price Index divided by GDP. I’ve used the FRED data for the stock index numerator (WILL5000PRFC).

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A quick technical note: To match the quarterly intervals of GDP, for the Wilshire data I’ve used the quarterly average of daily closes rather than quarterly closes (slightly smoothing the volatility).

How Well do the Two Views Match?

The first of the two charts above appears to show a significantly greater overvaluation. Here are the two versions side-by-side. The one on the left shows the latest valuation over two standard…
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Consumer Confidence Surprises to the Downside

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through November 13. The headline number of 88.7 was a surprising drop from the revised October final reading of 94.1, a downward revision from 94.5. Today’s number was well below the Investing.com forecast of 95.9.

Here is an excerpt from the Conference Board press release.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer confidence retreated in November, primarily due to reduced optimism in the short-term outlook. Consumers were somewhat less positive about current business conditions and the present state of the job market; moreover, their optimism in the short-term outlook in both areas has waned. However, income expectations were virtually unchanged and gas prices remain low, which should help boost holiday sales.”

Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions was moderately less favorable in November than in October. The proportion saying business conditions are “good” decreased from 24.7 percent to 24.0 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” increased from 21.3 percent to 22.4 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the job market was slightly less favorable, with the proportion stating jobs are “plentiful” falling from 16.5 percent to 16.0 percent, and those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increasing marginally from 29.0 percent to 29.2 percent.

Consumers’ optimism, which had improved in October, retreated in November. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 19.4 percent to 17.6 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen rose from 8.9 percent to 10.7 percent. Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less optimistic. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 16.0 percent to 15.0 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose from 14.1 percent to 16.4 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes edged down from 16.7 percent to 16.3 percent, while the proportion expecting a drop in income was virtually unchanged at 11.4 percent compared to 11.3 percent in October.

Putting the Latest Number in Context

Let’s take a step back and put Lynn Franco’s interpretation in a larger perspective. The table here shows the average consumer confidence levels for each of the five recessions during…
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Q3 GDP Second Estimate at 3.9% Beats Economists’ Expectations

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Second Estimate for Q3 GDP, to one decimal, came in at 3.9 percent, an increase from the Advance Estimate of 3.5 percent. Today’s number beat mainstream economists’ estimates, which were for a fractional decrease. For example, Investing.com had a forecast of 3.3 percent.

Here is an excerpt from the Bureau of Economic Analysis news release:

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 4.6 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.5 percent. With the second estimate for the third quarter, private inventory investment decreased less than previously estimated, and both personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and nonresidential fixed investment increased more. In contrast, exports increased less than previously estimated (see “Revisions” on page 3).

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, exports, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The deceleration in the percent change in real GDP reflected a downturn in private inventory investment and decelerations in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, in state and local government spending, in PCE, and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downturn in imports and an upturn in federal government spending.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 1.4 percent in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage point more than in the advance estimate; this index increased 2.0 percent in the second quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.6 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent in the second. [Full Release]

Here is a look at GDP since Q2 1947 together with the real (inflation-adjusted) S&P…
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Semiconductors Continue to Gain

Courtesy of Declan.

Again, it was left to Semiconductors to do the leg work for the day as it added nearly 1%. The question is whether strength in this index will contribute to further gains for the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100.  The ‘bull trap’ in the Semiconductor index is now negated.


The Nasdaq 100 is up against Friday’s highs. Volume dropped as markets prepare for the shortened holiday week. Drip gains are probably the most likely outcome, but nearby support is some distance away, making it hard to be a buyer here.

The Russell 2000 edged out of its tentative channel and is challenging the November high.  Larger resistance remains to be challenged, but it’s nicely positioned to gain. I would be looking similar to what happened in the Semiconductor Index

The S&P inched higher, but like the Nasdaq 100 it’s hard to be a buyer given the action, but even harder to be a seller if already long.

We are unlikely to see too much for Thanksgiving week, but if there is a bias it’s likely to be bullish.

Accepting KIVA gift certificates to help support the work on this blog. All certificates gifted are converted into loans for those who need the help more.





Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Down Another Seven Cents

Courtesy of Doug Short.

It’s time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny Regular dropped another seven cents and Premium six. Regular is now at its lowest price since November 2010. Will the price decline in gasoline boost discretionary spending as we approach the holiday season? Stay tuned!

According to GasBuddy.com, Hawaii has the highest cost at $3.88. The highest continental average price is in New York at $3.18. Missouri and South Carolina are tied for the cheapest Regular at $2.55.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here’s a visual answer.

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The next chart is a weekly chart overlay of West Texas Intermediate Crude, Brent Crude and unleaded gasoline end-of-day spot prices (GASO). WTIC closed today at 75.78, up 0.31 over the past five sessions.

The volatility in crude oil and gasoline prices has been clearly reflected in recent years in both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the CPI, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.

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The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).

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Here are some additional commentaries related to gasoline prices:





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Grant Williams: The Consequences Of Economic Peace

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The following chart-heavy presentation from Grant Williams is among his best as he wends his way methodically from the 19th century to the present day (and into the future) examining "The Consequences of the Economic Peace." From Keynes to Kondratieff and from Napoleon to Nixon, Williams looks at the ramifications of several decades of easy credit and attempts to draw parallels with a time in history when the world looked remarkably similar to how it does now (as he notes "that last time didn’t end so well, I’m afraid.") The real day of reckoning (Williams notes rather ominously), when the unconscionable level of debt that has been built up during the fiat money era...



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Phil's Favorites

Merkel Will Blink First, Not Putin

Courtesy of Mish.

The cold war took another twist last week when a Senior German Politician Endorsed Russian Takeover of Crimea.
Former state premier Matthias Platzeck, chairman of the German-Russian Forum business lobby and erstwhile Social Democrat (SPD) chief, is the first high-ranking German to say the West should endorse the annexation as a way to help resolve the Ukraine crisis.

Platzeck, 60, told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: "A wise man changes his mind - a fool never will... The annexation of Crimea must be retroactively arranged under international law so that it's acceptable for everyone."

Platzeck, Brandenburg's popular state premier from 2002 to 2013, struck a nerve in eastern Germany where there is far less support for sa...



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Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: Dithering Near the Record High on Mixed Signals

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 traded in a bit of a confused fashion during the morning, oscillating between its 0.23% and -0.23% intraday peak and trough in the first two hours of trading. The Second Estimate of Q3 GDP beat forecasts with its upward revision from 3.5% to 3.9%. But Consumer Confidence unexpectedly dropped, probably not a welcome signal as we approach the holiday shopping season. The index then dithered through the day in a narrow range, the only drama being whether it would log its 47th record close of 2014. It did not, ending the day with a fractional -0.12% decline. But perhaps tomorrow's close will give us a rationale for an extra helping o...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Holiday fever takes hold of stock investors, but a pullback is needed

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

With warmer weather arriving to melt the early snowfall across much of the country, investors seem to be catching a severe case of holiday fever and positioning themselves for the seasonally bullish time of the year. And to give an added boost, both Europe and Asia provided more fuel for the bull’s fire last week with stimulus announcements, particularly China’s interest rate cut. Yes, all systems are go for U.S. equities as there really is no other game in town. But nothing goes up in a straight line, not even during the holidays, so a near-term market pullback would be a healthy way to prevent a steeper correction in January.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based Sector...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin Mining

Courtesy of Global Economic Intersection

By Rod Garratt and Rosa Hayes - Liberty Street Economics, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

In June 2014, the mining pool Ghash.IO briefly controlled more than half of all mining power in the Bitcoin network, awakening fears that it might attempt to manipulate the blockchain, the public record of all Bitcoin transactions. Alarming headlines splattered the blogosphere. But should members of the Bitcoin community be worried?

Miners are members of the Bitcoin community who engage in a proce...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of November 25th, 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's the Happy Thanksgiving Edition of Stock World Weekly!

Click on this link and sign in with your PSW user name and password. 

Picture via Pixabay.

...

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Market Shadows

Official Moves in the Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio

By Ilene 

I officially bought 250 shares of EZCH at $18.76 and sold 300 shares of IGT at $17.09 in Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio yesterday (Fri. 11-21).

Click here for Thursday's post where I was thinking about buying EZCH. After further reading, I decided to add it to the virtual portfolio and to sell IGT and several other stocks, which we'll be saying goodbye to next week.

Notes

1. th...



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Option Review

Yamana Gold call options sink

Yamana Gold call options sink

By Andrew Wilkinson at Interactive Brokers

A four-year low for the spot price of gold has had a devastating impact on Yamana Gold (Ticker: AUY), with shares in the name down at the lowest price in six years. Some option traders were especially keen to sell premium and appear to see few signs of a lasting rebound within the next five months. The price of gold suffered again Wednesday as the dollar strengthened and stock prices advanced. The post price of gold fell to $1145 adding further pain to share prices of gold miners. Shares in Yamana Gold tumbled to $3.62 and the lowest price since 2008 as call option sellers used the April expiration contract to write premium at the $5.00 strike. That strike is now 38% above the price of the stock. Premium writers took in around 16-cents per contract o...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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