Last week I mentioned that there are few “V-shaped” corrections and plenty with a “W-shape”. There are also a few with an “M-shape”, leading to a major market sell-off. Here are some examples on Dow Jones Industrial Average.
2001 is the only good example I can find of a V-shaped correction.
It rolled over later in 2002 into a more conventional W-shape bottom with several tests of support at 7500.
This was followed by the banking crisis of 2008 which started with an M-shape in 2007. Successive false breaks above resistance (orange arrows) were followed by breach of support (red arrows)…before Lehman Bros filing for bankruptcy on September 15 led to a major capitulation.
2011 is nowadays considered a secondary movement but at the time caused widespread alarm. Starting with an M-shaped top, it broke support in August before forming a W-shaped bottom with several tests of support at 11000.
2015 was a more conventional W-shape precipitated by falling oil prices.
Now, in 2018, we have the makings of either a W-shaped correction or an M-shaped reversal. The false break above resistance at 26500 is definitely bearish but was followed by a bullish higher low at 24000.
There are three possible options:
- Completion of a W-shape correction, with breakout above 27000;
- An M-shaped reversal, with a fall below 23500; or
- A lengthy consolidation reflecting uncertainty, as in 1999 to 2001.
At this stage, option 1 is most likely. Buybacks and strong Q3 earnings are likely to counter bearish sentiment.
That would change if we see:
A negative yield curve, where the 3-month T-bill rate crosses above 10-year Treasury yields;
Rising troughs above 1% on the S&P 500 21-day Volatility Index; or
Bellwether transport stock Fedex follows-through below support at 210.
Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.