Oversold !

The watchword for today is "Oversold."

Bonds were oversold, and snapped back yesterday. The market got oversold and REALLY snapped back yesterday. Even the dollar, which has taken a 30% haircut over the past few years, is oversold and bouncing (more on the greenback later today).

The terms oversold and overbought get tossed about quite often. Unfortunately, many people (especially glib pundits and talking heads) use the phrase incorrectly.

What is Oversold? It starts when an asset class gets sold aggressively. Then it moves on to one (or more) of these three measures based on Valuation, Technicals, or Psychology. (The same holds true for "Overbought").

Following the selling, I define the phrase "Oversold" in any of these measures:

• Oversold on a Valuation basis is simply when an asset gets sold to the point below its intrinsic value. That can happen when downside momentum runs away.   

• On a Technical basis, an asset is oversold when it hits the lower boundary of an oscillator. Think Bollinger Bands, or a Stochastics. Many technicians will consider an asset oversold when it is two standard deviations away from a recent price or moving average.

• The Psychology measure is trickiest, as it is the least quantitative. I think of an asset as oversold simply when too many people are on that side of a trade. Beyond consensus, a unanimity of view often leads to an asset being oversdold from a sentiment perspective.

Let’s look at the recent Bond selloff/yield rally as an example. Barron’s Randall Forsyth, in Bond Yields Were Too Low, obserrved that "Since May 8, when bonds started their trip south, the T-bond ETF has
lost a stunning 6.7% of its value. That would be equivalent to a
900-point drop in the Dow Industrials.

We clearly have the aggressive selling part covered. And the title implies there was a valuation issue prior to the selling. But what of the other measures? Consider the following:

"Only eight times since 1990 have bonds been this oversold, according to Birinyi Associates’ Jeffrey Rubin. Yet that doesn’t hold out much hope for a rebound, his data show.

During these episodes, Rubin found that T-bond futures prices were off an average of 1.72% a month after being this oversold. Three months later, they recovered but by a mere 0.15%. Nor did stocks stage much of a comeback in those instances: the S&P 500 was off an average of 0.16% a month later, and up just 0.14% after three months. Summer rally? Rubin’s numbers aren’t encouraging."

Eight instances over the course of 17 years satisfies the technical aspect of this — as of Tuesday, Bonds were more than two standard deviations off of their recent prices and longer term moving averages.  And from a Psychological perspective, before yesterday, it was hard to find anyone suggesting that Bonds were a buy. That leaves only the valuation aspect in applicable as a measure of being oversold.

We will look at the Dollar later today to see if it is oversold and bouncing . . .


Incidentally, the rest of the Barron’s article is well worth a read, as it goes into the details behind the bond selloff.




It’s for Real: Bond Yields Were Too Low
Randall Forsyth
Barron’s Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Currency, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Markets, Psychology, Technical Analysis, Trading

Alexa blog rankings by Instant Bull

Category: Weblogs

Huffington Post does Business?

Category: Financial Press, Web/Tech

Why Bond Yields are a Triple Sextuple Threat

Category: Economy, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Investing, Markets, Psychology

Media Appearance: Kudlow & Company (6/12/07)

Category: Media

Gold Bullion

Category: Commodities, Inflation, Psychology

Category: Economy, Investing, Markets, Quantitative, Valuation

The Making of Steely Dan’s Aja

SopranosWhile waiting for last night’s Soprano’s to start, I decided to pop in a DVD I had lying around: Steely Dan – The Making of Aja.

Since someone else is sure to bring it up in comments, let’s deal with the finale: Creator/writer/director David Chase made his bones adding a level of reality — Cinéma vérité — to his plotting and characters. He never liked neat endings, always leaves a level of ambiguity and uncertainty. 

And while I didn’t love last night’s episode — it was just another episode, and not any way at all a special "finale" — I recognize what Chase attempted: He ended the show on a note of tension, uncertainty, and ambiguity. You know, just like real life. Hey, no one knows what will happen in the future, or what fate awaits us. He ended the show the same way . . .

Not that I really liked it — it was disappointingly slow, and except for Phil "Flat-Head" Leotardo, not a whole lot happened.

AjaBut I digress.

Where was I? Oh, yes.

A few months ago, I mentioned on Friday Night Jazz this great video on the making of Steely Dan’ Peg that I (somehow randomly) discovered on YouTube.

Turns out its part of a series of DVDs titled "Classic Albums" series that aired originally on VH1. So, while waiting for the last episode to begin, I popped in this DVD I’ve had lying around. 

FloydIt was simply terrific. Really high quality stuff — none of this "Behind-the-Boy-Band crap typical of VH1. Indeed, the great tragedy of VH1 is this very series — and many of the

UnPlugged shows
– are just so damn good, it makes you wonder how the rest of their programming can be so goddamned awful. It was that much better than what you would expect from typical VH1 stuff. 

If you are any type of Dan fan, you must go order this right now.

In fact, I was so impressed with the quality of the interviews, clips, and sound quality — I can’t recall the last time I did this — that,  even as the DVD credits were rolling, I ordered four more DVDs (all $10 or less) from the same series.

GracelandAs a music fan, I felt compelled to check out these "Classic Albums":

The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon

Paul Simon – Graceland

The Who: Who’s Next

U2: The Joshua Tree

I’ll update how these are at a latter date, but based on the Steely Dan DVD, and the high caliber of reviews at Amazon.com, I expect these all to be similarly excellent . . . 

Category: Digital Media, Music, Video

Word of the Day: Googleability

Category: Web/Tech

Booyah Slide and Sentiment

Category: Financial Press, Psychology, Television