Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another Bolshevik Revolution?

We're Headed Toward Another Bolshevik Revolution

By Jeff Clark | 30 March 2010

In the world of technical analysis, price action is king.

I'm bearish. Everything in my heart, my soul, and my mind tells me I have to be short the stock market. But I've avoided making large downside bets because the price action— the king— has been so persistently positive. The peasants, however, are not very enamored of his royal highness.

Volume is weak. Negative divergences exist on nearly every momentum indicator. Sentiment indicators show remarkable investor complacency [[and remarkably high levels of bullishness— a strongly negative predictor, but rarely timely.: normxxx]]. And the world news continues highly negative. Yet, the king continues to reign.

But here's the thing When kingdoms are overthrown, it happens overnight. It's an instantaneous transition of power. One day, the king is in charge, the next day it's a religious zealot, a military general, or a drug kingpin.

It always comes off as a surprise. But in hindsight, there are always plenty of warning signs. Think back to the Bolshevik Revolution. The Russian royal family was slaughtered overnight, but the peasants had been unruly for months beforehand.

The CIA was aware of turbulence in the Middle East long before the Shah of Iran was exiled in 1979. The Berlin Wall collapsed overnight. But the blueprints for its destruction were drawn out months ahead of time. In hindsight, all of these events were predictable and foreseeable. [[As well as many thousands of similar events— which, nevertheless, never came to pass!: normxxx]]

The same was true of the stock market crash in 1987. Economic conditions were faltering. Interest rates were rising. The public's appetite for risk was growing. And stocks were rallying on the back of deteriorating technical conditions.

Anyone, with even the simplest understanding of market conditions, could have called the crash in 1987. In fact, many of the brightest analysts did. But they were early and their reputations suffered as stocks continued to climb despite the overwhelming technical divergences.

I remember 1987 well. I was a young trader, and I was on the wrong side of the market for five months before my bearish bets finally paid off. In August 1987, I was so perplexed by the market's action I considered leaving my trading post and pursuing another career. Heck, standing behind the plexiglas booth at the local gas station and putting $10 on pump number 5 seemed a more attractive career path than what I was doing at the time.

When it finally happened that October, the crash of 1987 took almost everyone by surprise, and it seemed to happen overnight. By now, though, we all know the warning signs were everywhere. So, too, were the warning signs when the Internet craze crashed and burned in 2000.

Today isn't any different.

I know, I've been bearish for months and I've been wrong— even though I haven't bet heavily in that direction. I'll wear the egg on my face for as long as necessary.

Every day, I wake up and I look for reasons to be bullish on the market. There aren't any— except the king remains in power. Meanwhile, the peasants grow more and more restless, and the tension continues to build.

Months from now, we'll all look back at this time— much as we all look back at October 1987 and March 2000— and we'll remark on how obvious it all was. Yet we'll be completely taken by surprise when it happens— out of nowhere. Best regards and good trading.

[[FWIW, here is a list of the bullish things in the market, thanks to Charles E. Kirk.: normxxx]]
  • Unexpected increase in retail sales

  • Analyst predictions for expanding U.S. payrolls

  • Slack inflation pressures reported in both CPI & PPI

  • Fed promises that interest rates will remain "exceptionally low" for an "extended period"

  • Analysts raising earnings & profit forecasts

  • Reduced sovereign debt concerns especially over Greece

  • Increasing dividend payouts
  • [[Corporations are rolling in cash and productivity is skyrocketing. : normxxx]]

  • Very positive comments about the recovery from executives like the CEO of Fedex

  • Barton Biggs predicts another 10% gain due to performance pressure by underinvested fund managers

  • Richard Bove said bank stocks may quadruple over the next two to three years as loan defaults decrease

  • Fedspeak from Bullard who sees significant jobs improvement

  • Better than expected economic reports ranging from durable goods to a largerer decline than expected in weekly initial unemployment claims

  • Increase in Q4 US corporate profits by $108.7 billion to $1.47 trillion as earnings surged +31% from the same period in 2008

  • Prediction from the WTO that global commerce will grow by +9.5% this year from last year, fueled by growth in Asia and India

  • Prediction from Birinyi Associates that the S&P 500 Index will climb to 1,325 by year-end

  • Euro-Zone economic confidence surged in most recent report

  • Companies in the S&P 500 Index spent $47.8 billion on stock buybacks during Q4 of 2009 which is up +37%

  • New government programs to help US homeowners avoid foreclosure

  • Better housing market as smaller-than-expected decrease in existing home sales

  • Chipmakers see signs of increased demand

  • Signs of a bottom in U.S. commercial property as values rose 1%

  • Strength in health-care companies due to health care reform

  • US is unlikely to lose its top AAA credit rating



The contents of any third-party letters/reports above do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoint of normxxx. They are provided for informational/educational purposes only.

The content of any message or post by normxxx anywhere on this site is not to be construed as constituting market or investment advice. Such is intended for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their own advisors for specific investment advice.

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