Showing posts with label Jason Geopfert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jason Geopfert. Show all posts

Monday, August 20, 2007

Have You Hugged Your T-Bills Lately ??

Have You Hugged Your T-Bills Lately ??SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Jason Goepfert

There are two defining moments from late last week - an incredible rush to safety, and a washout in terms of market breadth.

There are many ways to watch for extreme moments of risk-aversion. One sign of that came from Rydex mutual fund traders, as they were three times more likely to invest in a "safe" fund than a "risky" one. But in the bigger scheme of things, Rydex funds are small potatoes. The Treasury market is not.

And in that Treasury market, we saw a huge rush to one of the safest of all instruments - the three-month T-Bill. Over a two-day period, the yield on T-Bills dropped by more than 20% (near Thursday's nadir), which means that there was a big demand for those Bills. Like all credit, when demand is strong and supply is restricted, then prices rise and yields fall.

That two-day decline was one of the steepest in five decades. Using data from the Federal Reserve for secondary market rates on T-Bills, I could find only two other times since 1950 that yields dropped so much in such a short period. Those two times were February 24, 1958 and September 17, 2001. Both led to an imminent halt in selling pressure in equities (or very close to it in 2001), and the S&P 500 was about 8% higher a month later both times.

That rush to safety was accompanied by traders dumping shares at a record rate. NYSE volume set a record on Thursday, and the past two weeks have seen several days with volume nearly as high. Large share turnover in the midst of a decline is typically a mark of a bottoming market.

Going back to the 1960's, I looked for any time total NYSE volume was at least 50% above its one-year average for at least five out of the past ten sessions, AND the S&P 500 was at least 5% below it's highest point of the past year. Looking ahead three months, the S&P was positive 90% of the time (92 out of 102 days) with an average return of +7.6%.

Much of that volume was traders wanting to get out of their shares, and selling at any price. By Thursday, a phenomenal 1,132 stocks had hit new 52-week lows, the second-most in history.

Expressed in terms of total stocks traded, that comes out to 33%. There have only been three times in the past 20 years that more than 30% of stocks hit a new low on the same day - 10/19/87, 8/23/90 and 8/31/98. Those were exceptional times to initiate intermediate-term long positions.

Also near a couple of those dates, we saw extraordinary one-day reversals on heavy volume, and brokers exploding out of one-year lows…just like Thursday. Fundamentally, there are many reasons to expect more bad news and possible selling pressure to come. And technically, the markets look quite weak. But looking at some of the intangibles, a good argument can be made that despite some likely short-term testing of Thursday’s low, that testing should succeed and result in a one- to three-month recovery.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Mysteries of Up & Down Volume

The Mysteries of Up & Down VolumeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Jason Goepfert

Over the past week, we’ve seen a laundry list of extremes across a variety of shorter-term sentiment- and breadth-related indicators.

One of the more remarkable is that of the relationship between “up” volume and “down” volume on the NYSE. Up volume is simply the number of shares traded in stocks that closed higher than the previous close, and vice-versa for down volume.

Last Tuesday, that ratio was skewed 100-to-1 in favor of the downside, the worst since the crash of 1987. A week later, however, buyers returned in force and the skew was 15-to-1 in favor of upside volume. Historically, it’s rare to see two such opposite extremes within a week of each other, and it might be instructive to take a look at them.

Each of the four instances in the past 50 years was consistent in their pattern:

1. At least a 15-to-1 skew of down volume to up volume.
2. At least a 15-to-1 skew of up volume to down volume less than one week later.
3. A retest of the recent low within 30 days.
4. A rally off a successful test of that low.

The four charts below highlight each of the occurrences, and it provides a general outline of what we may see this time around if the pattern holds somewhat true. This time we’re seeing the volume reversal soon after a market high, whereas the others occurred after a major downtrend, so that’s one caveat here. And if the recent low breaks, it will invalidate this pattern and I would not be looking for higher prices based on this extreme volume reversal any longer.

October 23, 1957:

June 30, 1965:

May 27, 1970:

October 21, 1987:

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