Posts filed under “Technical Analysis”
Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the time to sell. -John Templeton
Now that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has had its first decline of more than 10 percent since 2011, it is time to assess the technical damage.
There is little doubt the past week has bruised the bull market. Since the run began in March 2009, we have had similar or bigger sell-offs. Quite a few pundits and commentators, though, have said that this one “feels different.” That sort of squishy analysis leaves us too dependent on subjective, unquantifiable emotions. Rather than rely on anyone’s gut feel, let’s spend some time today looking at quantifiable data — market internals, trends, supply and valuations.
I am no longer a trader, and don’t look at internals or technicals much. Instead, I rely on the smartest people I know in the trenches to share their insights. The key take away? The past week has done some serious damage, and whatever recovery we see may be a slog.
Let’s start out with the present, oversold conditions. Jeffrey Saut, chief strategist at Raymond James, points out how unusual the past few weeks have been:
continues here: How Badly Was the Stock Market Damaged?
I found this chart, via Torsten Sløk of Deutsche Bank Securities. It is a quite fascinating look at the VVIX index. If you are unfamiliar with the VVIX, it is a measure of the volatility of the VIX, itself a volatility measure of the equity market. More precisely, it represents the expected volatility of the 30-day forward…Read More
One of the themes we like to touch on in this column are heuristics. Myths that become Wall Street rules of thumb have existed for as long as there have been trading desks. They are legion, they pop up regularly and most of the time they are terribly wrong. Woe to the unwary trader who relies…Read More
Every now and again, a way of looking at markets suddenly gains traction. Data gets assembled, analyzed, reviewed. Eventually, it becomes the basis of traders’ decision-making process. It even can become part of Wall Street lore. The problem that arises all too often is that this approach is statistically bogus. The data gets cherry picked;…Read More
During the past few years, I have referred to market breadth as one of the more important metrics of the stock market’s health. As we close in on new highs in the cumulative advance-decline line, it is time to revisit this internal indicator. As the chart below shows, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has rallied from…Read More
When discussing bull and bear markets, it sometimes helps to think of them as coming in two distinct flavors: Short-term cyclical markets and long-term secular ones. Knowing one from the other isn’t always easy. A number of veteran market observers such as Raymond James’s Jeffrey Saut, technician Ralph Acampora, strategist Laszlo Birinyi and market historians…Read More
NASDAQ 5000 – Crash? Bubble? Fair Value?
March 4, 2015
Almost fifteen years ago, on April 1, 2000, we wrote and published a piece entitled “Will the NASDAQ sell-off become a crash?” We have now retrieved that piece from our archives and posted it on our website.
In preparing that piece we evaluated the stock market and made a theoretical calculation in which we merged two companies, Cisco and Microsoft. We assumed that their reported earnings were accurate. We found that the two companies merged together had earnings of $10 billion and their merged theoretical market valuation amounted to $1 trillion. Our conclusion at the time was fairly straightforward. There was nothing wrong with either company. Both Cisco and Microsoft were fine, large, developing, worldwide leaders in the Technology sector. The stock price, however, was wrong. At 100 times earnings, the price of the theoretically merged company’s shares was not justified by any valuation technique. The combined GDP of all countries in the world was estimated at $30 trillion.
We concluded in our piece that the NASDAQ at 5000 was setting up for a crash. The fourth page measures the value of Cisco against a list of companies (that list included Apple). 15 years ago, we forecast that NASDAQ 5000 would lose over two-thirds of its value before the crash and sell-off ran their full course. Never did we think that the result would be a loss of 80% of its value.
This week, Convergex published a piece including their discussions of NASDAQ 5000. Author Nicholas Cola titled the piece “NASDAQ 5000 – Don’t Call it a Comeback” (March 3, 2015).
(See below for full report)
Here is the summary, which tells most of the story:
With the NASDAQ Composite back to the magic 5,000 level, today we look at the “heavy hitters” in the index. The companies with the top 10 weightings comprise some 32% of the entire index, led by Apple (9.9%), Microsoft (4.8%) the two flavors of Google (4.6%). So where do NASDAQ Comp valuation levels sit at 5,000, and what do you get for your money? Forward P/E multiples based on analyst expectations are 19x earnings, a noticeable premium to the S&P 500 at 17x. In return for that markup, those top 10 names in the NASDAQ offer the promise of real revenue and earnings growth. Analyst estimates for top line growth in 2015 for the top 10 names average out at 13.7% and the 3-year CAGR through 2017 is 11.2%. That translates into 9.4% earnings growth for this year and 11.7% compounded growth through 2017. The real question behind NASDAQ 5,000 Version 2.0 is simple: what price do you pay for growth stocks versus the broader index.
Let’s take a look at the issue now compared with conditions when our NASDAQ 5000 piece was written 15 years ago. Microsoft is now 4.8% of the index, Cisco is 2%, and Apple is approximately 10% of the index and the largest weight. The Convergex research piece provides the remaining information in detail. For information about Convergex, visit www.convergex.com. If you want to send them a reply on their commentary or obtain a copy of Nicholas Colas’s March 3, 2015, piece, we suggest sending an email to Convergex at email@example.com. Note: Cumberland is a user of Convergex’s services and receives their research missive daily.
So what does it mean that the price/earnings ratio is no longer 100:1? It is now in the mid-teens. The stocks currently represented in the NASDAQ are still heavily focused within the Technology sector. Some of the companies, whose market prices may be high relative to past references, are supported by profits and robust estimates of future growth. What is the condition of those companies? Do they have large reserves of cash, or are they involved in heavily leveraged debt structures? Cash seems to be the answer in most cases.
What is the basic condition of the Technology industry? In the dot.com era 15 years ago, as the NASDAQ steamed toward 5000, there were many companies that had no product or earnings. They had only future prospects. Companies formed in garages and found themselves with overnight capitalizations in the billions. Technology sector fever gripped the stock market as a whole, with the Tech sector priced at nearly one-third of total market value at its peak. The price of stocks relative to America’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached all-time highs, based upon trillions of dollars in market value for companies that were little more than concepts. By some estimates, the US market cap was $7 trillion in excess at the top of the tech bubble.
Is the picture the same today with the NASDAQ at 5000? We think not. Could the NASDAQ go through a correction? Yes. We have had an extended bull market of six years’ duration. Corrections have been elusive but are inevitable. That includes the NASDAQ.
We wrote about the NASDAQ 5000 15 years ago as a bubble, the forerunner of a crash, and a valuation supported without earnings or momentum other than prices set by speculative fever. Now, 15 years later, the NASDAQ represents companies that have worldwide growth potential and are revealing once again the remarkable robustness of technology advancement as a business model. These companies are very American. Look at the NASDAQ list and note the nature and structure of these success stories that are rooted in the United States.
Is the NASDAQ 5000 a crash in the making? Fifteen years ago the answer was, without equivocation, yes. Today, the answer is no. It is 15 years later.
We are overweight the Technology sector in our US exchange-traded fund (ETF) managed accounts. Those ETFs contain the stocks mentioned in the Convergex report along with many others. We think the outlook for this sector’s evolution is strong and strategically long-term, with higher earnings, profits, dividends, and stock prices ahead.
We put together a short video on this NASDAQ 5000 phenomenon and how it figured into the creation of our ETF separate account management structure back in 1999. You can view the video here.
David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer
Nikkei 225: Potential breakout into a secular bull market Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch We continue to favor Japan’s Nikkei 225. The Nikkei 225 is pushing above the 2007 high of 18,300, which has the potential to end the secular bear market for Japan that began in 1989. This is a focus…Read More