Market Anthropology: a Confession

Friday, March 16, 2012

a Confession

Consider me still an atheist here. A chosen sinner – so to speak. Bereft of faith and comfort in the equity markets almost endless and droning bid. Four, five, six, seven – perhaps even eight sessions of strength later, confirms that it’s the cadence of the market’s sermon, that frictions against my own understanding of the universe’s balance. The closer we get to the heavens, the more I can see their scaffolding. Absence of faith – this is not normal, healthy or sustainable. Taken in context – the charts back up this theory. With that said, ignorance is bliss  – and a sincere kudos for those that went along for the last part of the ride. 

From the perspective of an outlier within the range – this past week is in rare company. Below is a Bollinger series of charts of a wide variety of markets and asset classes that all display extended moves outside of the bands. While it is not uncommon to find one market or asset outside from time to time – it is quite unusual to see them all register at once. While I imagined a blowoff top in early December – this has become a move only the true believers could embrace. Again, I envy their faith – if only from a distance. 

* Click on the chart to enlarge frame
Interestingly, the only major index that has not exhibited a move beyond the Bollinger bands is the Russell 2000. And although Goldman just gave the green light for scooping up small caps at these heights (based on their relative underperformance), my research points to perhaps an oversight in that thesis. Namely, the secular pivot that appears to be taking place in the relative outperformance of large caps versus small caps. For the last six or seven years we have heard from many an analyst of this almost mystical dynamic that never quite materialized. 

“We recommend – high quality large cap dividend stocks…” 

As it did last time, it appears to be taking place alongside a pivot in the dollar. 
Incorporating my work on silver and gold over the past few weeks, I do believe its message to the bulls has fallen on deaf ears. That message being – volatility in the precious metals and commodity markets, typically presages volatility in the equity markets. And just as silver provided a false breakout to traders a few weeks back (culminating in a move outside of the Bollinger band) – the equity indexes appear to be completing the same pattern. 
As always – stay frosty – but with a warm heart.