The S&P 500 and Plan B

The S&P 500 penetrated its rising trendline, warning of a re-test of support at 3000. But selling pressure on the Trend Index appears to be secondary.

S&P 500

Transport bellwether Fedex retreated below long-term support at 150 on the monthly chart — on fears of a slow-down in international trade. Follow-through below 140 would strengthen the bear signal, offering a target of 100. The bear-trend warns that economic activity is contracting.

Fedex

Brent crude dropped below $60/barrel on fears of a global slow-down. Expect a test of primary support at 50.

Brent Crude

Dow Jones – UBS Commodity Index broke primary support at 76 on the monthly chart, also anticipating a global slow-down.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

South Korea’s KOSPI Index is a good barometer for global trade. Expect a re-test of primary support at 250.

KOSPI

While Dr Copper, another useful barometer, warns that the patient (the global economy) is in need of medical assistance.

Copper (S1)

The Fed can keep pumping Dollars into financial markets but at some point, the patient is going to stop responding. In which case you had better have a Plan B.

ASX 200 retracement likely

A short candle with a tall shadow on the ASX 200 weekly chart warns of short-term selling pressure. Expect retracement to test the new support level at 6800.

ASX 200

Weakness has been driven by the Resources sector, with a gravestone candle on the ASX 300 Metals & Mining index warning of selling pressure at resistance at 4800 and a likely reversal to test support at 4450.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

A short candle on the ASX 300 Banks index warns of increased short-term selling pressure. Respect of the descending trendline would signal another decline; breach of support at 7250 would confirm. Penetration of the trendline is less likely but would suggest that a bottom is forming.

ASX 300 Banks

We continue to hold a bearish view on the domestic economy but recognize that the temporary tailwind from resources (iron ore) may partly alleviate this. IT and Healthcare sectors are, in our view, over-priced and we maintain our focus on defensive and contra-cyclical (gold) stocks.

Commodities & Global Growth

Commodity prices warn that the global economy is still in a slump.

The Dow Jones – UBS Commodity Index remains at one-third of its 2007 peak, with no sign of recovery.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

The fall in crude prices hasn’t been as severe, but Brent Crude is again weakening and looks set for another test of $50/barrel.

Brent Crude

Shipping rates for dry bulk goods, such as iron ore and coal, have fallen, with the Baltic Dry Index close to long-term support at 500.

Baltic Dry Index

Supply interruptions to iron ore production in Brazil have cushioned Australian producers from a sharp down-turn in iron ore prices. But coal exporters are feeling the pinch.

RBA Chart Pack: Bulk Commodity Prices

Recovery of Brazilian production over the next two years is expected to add downward pressure to iron ore prices.

The only positive appears to be container shipping rates. The Harpex Index rose steeply in 2019, reflecting increased demand for container shipping of finished goods.

Harpex Index

Somewhat surprising, since this coincided with US-China trade tensions and tariff increases. The answer may lie with importers on both sides of the Pacific attempting to front-run the imposition of tariffs and build inventories in case of supply interruptions and to allow time to adapt their supply chain. Expect the index to retreat in the early part of 2020.

It looks like low global growth will continue.

ASX 200 lifted by resources

The ASX 200 is advancing towards its medium-term target of 7200 after breaking resistance at 6800. A high trend index trough signals buying pressure.

ASX 200

Primary driver of the advance is Resources. Signing of phase one of the US-China trade deal lifted iron ore, which is  testing resistance at 95. Consolidation at/below 95 is likely, however, given that the mid-2019 peak was caused by supply disruption in Brazil.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is headed for a test of resistance at 4800.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Financials are weak, but the ASX 300 Banks index found support at 7250. Respect of the descending trendline would warn of another decline, with a short-term target of 7000. Penetration of the trendline is less likely but would warn that a bottom is forming.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index is testing resistance at 1680, reflecting the investor demand for yield.

ASX 200 REITs

A weakening Australian Dollar may lift exports slightly but reflects concerns over the phase one US-China trade deal and the impact substantive purchase commitments made by China will have on other energy and commodity suppliers. Breach of 68.50 would offer a short-term target of 67 US cents.

AUDUSD

We continue to hold a bearish view on the domestic economy but recognize that the tailwind from resources may partly alleviate this. IT and Healthcare sectors are, in our view, over-priced and we maintain our focus on defensive and contra-cyclical (gold) stocks.

ASX 200 breakout

The ASX 200 broke resistance at 6800, signaling a fresh advance. Expect retracement to test the new support level; respect would strengthen the bull signal.

ASX 200

Primary driver of the advance is resources. Talk of an imminent phase 1 US-China trade deal lifted iron ore, which is now testing resistance at 95. Expect retracement to test primary support at 80 but respect would confirm that a base has formed.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is advancing in step with iron ore prices, with a short-term target of 4800.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Financials remain weak, with the ASX 300 Banks index ranging in a bearish narrow band between 7200 and 7500. Respect of the descending trendline would warn of another decline, with a short-term target of 7000.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index recovered after a false break below 1580, with a short-term target of 1680.

ASX 200 REITs

We maintain a focus on defensive and contra-cyclical (gold) sectors because of our bearish outlook for the Australian and global economy.

ASX 200 hesitant because of banks

Financials are still weak. The ASX 300 Banks rally appears short-lived, posting a red candle for the week. Expect another test of support at 7200; breach would test primary support at 6750.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index recovered above support at 1600. False breaks on both the bull and bear side indicate hesitancy but declining peaks on the Trend Index warn of long-term selling pressure.

ASX 200 REITs

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is more bullish, having broken resistance at 4450. Expect retracement to test the new support level; respect would confirm the target of 4800.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Talk of an imminent trade deal lifted iron ore above previous support at 90. Expect another test of primary support at 80, but respect would confirm that a base is forming above 80.

Iron Ore

A bearish financial sector is holding the ASX 200 back. Follow-through above recent weekly highs would signal another advance, while reversal below 6600 would test primary support at 6400. Further consolidation between 6400 and 6800 is just as likely given the gradual decline on the Trend Index.

ASX 200

We are avoiding highly-priced growth stocks and focusing on defensive and contra-cyclical sectors because of our bearish outlook for the Australian and global economies.

ASX 200 hesitant

The resources sector is strengthening.

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index broke resistance at 4450, suggesting another advance. Buoyed by rising iron ore prices, the breakout offers a target of 4800.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Talk of an imminent trade deal lifted iron ore above previous support at 90. Expect another test of primary support at 80, but respect would confirm that a base has formed above 80.

Iron Ore

Financials, on the other hand, are still weak.

The ASX 300 Banks index continues in a down-trend. Expect retracement to test resistance at 7600 but reversal seems unlikely at this stage. Respect of resistance would confirm a target of 6800.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index broke support at 1600 after a false break through 1650. Typical of a bull trap, expect a decline to test support at 1500.

ASX 200 REITs

A bearish outlook for banks is keeping the ASX 200 hesitant. The daily chart shows narrow consolidation below resistance at 6750; a bullish sign. Breakout is likely but the Trend Index below zero warns that buyers are cautious.

ASX 200

We maintain low exposure to Australian equities, with a focus on defensive and contra-cyclical stocks, because of our bearish outlook.

Banks drag on ASX 200

Banks are plagued by fears of large AUSTRAC penalties for breaches of anti money-laundering and counter-terrorism regulations. Commonwealth have paid a $700 million fine, Westpac have already been charged, NAB alerted investors of potential liabilities in their annual report, while ANZ says there are no signs of transgressions.

In other problem areas, mortgage stress continues to rise, with Martin North (Digital Finance Analytics) estimating that 32.5% of households are now in mortgage stress “based on an assessment of their cash flow.” Worst hit are fringe suburbs, where the rate is as high as 60%.

Elsewhere, RBNZ eased their calls for major banks to increase Common Equity Tier 1 Capital (CET1) to 13.5%, with a further 2.5% comprising other forms of capital such as hybrids and convertible preference shares, and relaxed the phase-in from 5 to 7 years. But the changes will still $13.8 billion in additional capital, according to the big four banks. APRA, by comparison, requires a CET1 ratio of 10.5%.

The ASX 300 Banks index continues to trend lower, with declining peaks on the Trend Index warning of selling pressure. Expect retracement to test resistance at 7600; respect would confirm the  target of 6800.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index is again testing support at 1600 after a false break above 1650. Breach of support remains unlikely, with financial markets searching for yield, but would offer a target of 1500.

ASX 200 REITs

Iron ore has made a bear market rally to test resistance at 90. Respect of resistance is likely and would warn of another decline.

Iron Ore

A Trend Index peak near zero on the ASX 300 Metals & Mining index warns of another test of support at 4100 (neckline of a large head-and-shoulders reversal pattern). Breach would offer a target of 3400, while respect of support would indicate that a base is forming.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Declining banks are dragging the ASX 200 lower and another test of support at 6400 is likely. A resources sector reversal would increase the chance of top forming on the broad index

ASX 200

We maintain low exposure to Australian equities, with a focus on defensive and contra-cyclical stocks, because of our bearish outlook.

ASX 200: Don’t argue with the tape

“A prudent speculator never argues with the tape. Markets are never wrong; opinions often are.” ~ Jesse Livermore

The ASX 200 broke resistance at 6800, signaling a fresh advance with a short-term target of 7200. Declining Trend Index peaks still warn of secondary selling pressure at present. Expect retracement to test the new support level at 6800. Respect of support would confirm the advance.

ASX 200

But divergence from fundamentals is growing.

NAB cut their GDP forecast to 1.5% in their November Forward View.

Housing markets in Sydney and Melbourne have recovered somewhat, but building approvals for houses remain 21% below their 2017 high and 57% for apartments. Construction activity is likely to remain low.

Exports are strong, boosted by increased LNG exports, but iron ore prices are falling. Currently testing short-term support at 80, our long-term target for iron ore is $65/metric ton.

Iron Ore

Business investment has slowed, causing wages to stagnate.

Australia: Business Investment

Retail sales weakened as a consequence, contracting for the first time since the early 1990s.

Australia: Retail Sales

Annual credit growth slowed to 2.5%, the lowest since 2010.

Banks were spooked last week by AUSTRAC pursuing Westpac for 19.5 million breaches of anti money-laundering and counter-terrorism regulations. The ASX 300 Banks index broke support at 7600, completing a double-top reversal, but this week they consolidated in a narrow range. Expect retracement to test resistance at 7600. Declining peaks on the Trend Index, however, continue to warn of selling pressure. Respect of resistance would confirm the decline, with a target of 6800.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index broke out of its descending triangle, signaling another advance. Financial markets are searching for yield.

ASX 200 REITs

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index penetrated its descending trendline, suggesting that a base is forming. Expect another test of support at 4100 (neckline of a large head-and-shoulders reversal pattern). Breach would offer a target of 3400. The Trend Index penetrated its descending trendline but a peak near zero would warn of continued selling pressure.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

We shouldn’t argue with the market but we should wait for confirmation; bull and bear traps are common. Investors, bear in mind that market risk remains elevated. I leave you with this quote from Westpac in their recent credit update:

For businesses, the economic backdrop has become more challenging. The global economy is slowing and household spending is soft. In this environment business investment in the real economy has lost momentum across the non-mining sectors – which will weigh on credit demand.

….and on jobs, wages growth and household spending.

We maintain low exposure to Australian equities, with a focus on defensive and contra-cyclical stocks, because of our bearish outlook.

ASX 200: Banks break support

ASX 300 Banks index broke support at 7600, signaling a correction to test primary support at 6750. Declining peaks on the Trend Index confirm selling pressure.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 REITs index has formed a bearish descending triangle. Breach of support at 1600 would warn of a correction. It seems unlikely that would reach primary support at 1350 because financial markets are searching for yield.

ASX 200 REITs

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is also faltering. Expect another test of support at 4100 (neckline of a large head-and-shoulders reversal pattern). Breach would offer a target of 3400. The Trend Index penetrated its descending trendline but a peak near zero would warn of continued selling pressure.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Iron ore found short-term support at 80 but continues its primary down-trend. Our long-term target is 65.

Iron Ore

The ASX 200 retreated from resistance at 6800. Declining Trend Index peaks only indicate secondary selling pressure at present. Expect another test of support at 6400. Breach is still unlikely but would offer a target of 5400.

ASX 200

We maintain low exposure to Australian equities, with a focus on defensive and contra-cyclical stocks, because of our bearish outlook.