The selling that began with a modest overbought condition on October 12th has snowballed into a major decline, capable of testing whether or not a bull market still exists. Now the only remaining near-term support area is at 3200. If that gives way, a pattern of lower highs and lower lows will be in place, and that is the mark of a bear market. That would be a game- changer.
The pullback in stocks over this past week closed the third and final gap of the Oct 10th-12th buying spree, and $SPX came all the way back down to the breakout level of 3425-3430. It has bounced off of there for now, and so this might merely be a sort of classic pullback to test support and then move higher. As long as $SPX remains above 3400, its chart has a bullish slant to it.
One of our favorite seasonal trades – and one of the most rewarding – is the October Seasonal Trade. It will be coming up at the end of October. It calls for buying “the market” on October 27th and selling out your position on November 2nd . BUT...the trade is only taken if there has been a 3.2% or larger decline sometime during the month of October. So far, we don’t have that last criterion satisfied, but it’s still early in October.
There has only been one contested election since listed options have been trading – the 2000 election between George W. Bush (43) and Al Gore. Election day was November 7th, 2000. The accompanying charts, courtesy of tradingview.com, show the pertinent time period. The three months August, September, and October “+” – as shown in the table at the beginning of this article – are noted in blue on the $SPX chart of 2000. There had been a good rally in August, but that had been completely reversed by mid-October. Then a late October rally brought $SPX back almost exactly to where it had been on July 31st – meaning that the three-month period was essentially a “wash.”
The upside breakout over 3430 that began last week extended into a buying spree this week. A modest correction then ensued. This pullback seems normal, so far, and the bullish case is still intact as long as $SPX remains above 3400.
The equity-only put-call ratios are grudgingly bullish, as these ratios have turned down again even though they are still at very low levels on their charts. It feels like more of a "sell cancel" than a "buy."
This is a subject that we wrote about in the July 31st, 2020, issue. Cumulative Advance-Decline Volume Breadth (CVB) is determined by 1) calculating the daily difference between volume on advancing issues minus volume on declining issues, and then 2) keeping a running sum of that daily total. We pointed out that there have been a few times in the past where this CVB made a new all-time high while $SPX had yet to do so. Every time, $SPX followed along to a new high of its own.
We have previously seen that $VIX has a slightly different pattern in election years than in most years. We wrote about this in the September 4th issue, so please refer to that article for more detail on this. The graph of $VIX in election years is reprinted on the right. The wild market action of 2020 caused point “A” to be much higher than it previously was (maybe we should be using the median here, too). The low point of $VIX after that occurs just about exactly on the first of September, and 2020 matches up with that pretty well. From there, $VIX rises sharply into October, holding onto its high levels until the election takes place and then begins to back off. It remains to be seen if that scenario will play out this year.