Dow runs out of buyers

Dow Jones Industrial Average failed to reach resistance at 11900/12000. Low volumes indicate a lack of interest from buyers rather than large numbers of sellers. Expect a test of support at 10600 to 10800. A strong surge in volume would indicate buying support, but failure is more likely and would offer a target of 9600*.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target calculation: 10800 – ( 12000 – 10800 ) = 9600

The S&P 500 Index is similarly headed for a test of support at 1100/1120. 21-Day Twiggs Money Flow peaking below the zero line [bear] warns of strong selling pressure. Failure of support would offer a target of 1000*.

S&P500 Index

* Target calculation: 1120 – ( 1260 – 1120 ) = 980

The Nasdaq 100 Index fared better over the last few weeks, but a failed breakout above 2200 warns of another test of 2000. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow reversal below zero would further strengthen the bear signal.

Nasdaq 100 Index

* Target calculation: 2000 – ( 2200 – 2000 ) = 1800

Jobs Paralysis Raises Odds of Fed Action – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Job market paralysis in August increases the chance the Federal Reserve will do something new to help the economy……. The current environment is pushing the Fed towards action. A week ago, Chairman Ben Bernanke told a gathering of the world’s top economic officials he was expanding the length of the upcoming September Federal Open Market Committee to give policy makers additional time to talk about what the Fed can do, which by itself increased the odds something was going to happen.

via Jobs Paralysis Raises Odds of Fed Action – Real Time Economics – WSJ.

Traders Don’t Care About Long-Term Problems, But You Should | Chris Ciovacco | Safehaven.com

We believe the psyche of investors is on the verge of reaching a tipping point, which could cause a very rapid decline in asset prices. It is next to impossible to know if and when they will reach for the sell button in unison, but the risk for such an event is elevated and must be considered in all portfolio management decisions. Stocks dropped 34% in twelve trading sessions in 1987. High volatility occurred before that drop, indicating an increased willingness to run for the exits. If you have not noticed, the markets have been volatile recently. An “Oh, my God” type event is difficult to predict, but the conditions are in place to make for an interesting next few months.

via Traders Don’t Care About Long-Term Problems, But You Should | Chris Ciovacco | Safehaven.com.

On High Correlations – Seeking Alpha

If the time horizons of investors are predominantly long, correlations on assets should be low in the short-run, because investors don’t make decisions to trade off of short-term macro factors. But when a large part of the investor base is skittish and is always running to or from the latest bit/byte/bite of data – that leads to high correlations.

ETFs aren’t necessary for high correlations, but they seem to help the process by creating easy ways for people to implement decisions that are a simple idea. “I want financials, I don’t want energy, buy the long bond, sell gold.”

Thus high short-term correlations indicate a momentum mindset in the investor base.

via On High Correlations – Seeking Alpha.

When debt levels turn cancerous – Telegraph Blogs

The professoriat has been a little too cavalier in arguing that debt does not really matter for the world as a whole because we all owe it to ourselves. Debtors are offset by creditors (not always from friendly countries). Common sense suggest that this academic solipsism is preposterous, and so it now proves to be.

“As modern macroeconomics developed over the last half-century, most people either ignored or finessed the issue of debt. Yet, as the mainstream was building and embracing the New Keynesian orthodoxy, there was a nagging concern that something had been missing…..There are intrinsic differences between borrowers and lenders; non-linearities, discontinuities… It is the asymmetry between those who are highly indebted and those who are not that leads to a decline in aggregate demand.”

Creditors do not step up spending to cover the shortfall when debtors are forced to retrench suddenly. So the economy tanks.

via Ambrose Evans-Pritchard|When debt levels turn cancerous – Telegraph Blogs.

Reminder: we’re in a bear market

Don’t be fooled by current month-end froth in the markets — into thinking that the bear market is over or that the early August plunge was a false signal. The S&P 500 Index has made little headway after completing a double bottom at 1200 despite average volumes indicating the absence of strong selling. 63-Day Momentum peaking below the zero line indicates a primary down-trend. Expect the bear rally to test resistance at 1250/1260 before a retreat to 1100. Breach of 1100 would find support at the 2010 low of 1000, but the calculated target is even lower*.

S&P500 Index

* Target calculation: 1100 – ( 1250 – 1100 ) = 950

The Nasdaq 100 performed better, clearing 2200 to complete a double bottom with a target of 2350*. Bullish divergence on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates buying pressure. But this is a bear rally in the middle of a bear market, and further falls on the Dow/S&P 500 would drag the Nasdaq lower.

Nasdaq100 Index

* Target calculation: 2200 + ( 2200 – 2050 ) = 2350

Fedex and UPS remain in a primary down-trend, indicating that economic activity levels remain poor.

Fedex and UPS

HEARD ON THE STREET: Life in the New Macro World – WSJ.com

Macro issues such as the solvency of European countries and fears of a global economic slowdown have overshadowed fundamental differences between companies. The consequence is that stocks are moving in tandem, indicating a high degree of correlation.

Based on one-month trailing movements, S&P 500-index stocks have a correlation of 80%, even higher than the 73% peak reached during the crisis in late 2008, says Ana Avramovic of Credit Suisse.

via HEARD ON THE STREET: Life in the New Macro World – WSJ.com.

One Number Says it All – Stephen S. Roach – Project Syndicate

The number is 0.2%. It is the average annualized growth of US consumer spending over the past 14 quarters – calculated in inflation-adjusted terms from the first quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2011. Never before in the post-World War II era have American consumers been so weak for so long. This one number encapsulates much of what is wrong today in the US – and in the global economy.

……With retrenchment and balance-sheet repair only in its early stages, the zombie-like behavior of American consumers should persist. The 2.1% consumption growth trend realized during the anemic recovery of the past two years could well be indicative of what lies ahead for years to come.

via One Number Says it All – Stephen S. Roach – Project Syndicate.

The Second Great Contraction – Kenneth Rogoff – Project Syndicate

…The only practical way to shorten the coming period of painful deleveraging and slow growth would be a sustained burst of moderate inflation, say, 4-6% for several years. Of course, inflation is an unfair and arbitrary transfer of income from savers to debtors. But, at the end of the day, such a transfer is the most direct approach to faster recovery. Eventually, it will take place one way or another, anyway, as Europe is painfully learning.

Some observers regard any suggestion of even modestly elevated inflation as a form of heresy. But Great Contractions, as opposed to recessions, are very infrequent events, occurring perhaps once every 70 or 80 years. These are times when central banks need to spend some of the credibility that they accumulate in normal times.

via The Second Great Contraction – Kenneth Rogoff – Project Syndicate.