Market Outlook: The Stock Market Is Up 9 Weeks In A Row. What’s Next?

The Dow and Nasdaq are up 9 weeks in a row when you compare this week’s close to the previous week’s close, while the S&P is up 9 weeks in a row when you compare this week’s close to this week’s open.

The most likely path forward is a short term pullback, with more gains ahead for 2019. Above all else, remember that the short term is extremely hard to predict, no matter how much conviction you have in it.

The economy’s fundamentals determine the stock market’s medium-long term outlook. Technicals determine the stock market’s short-medium term outlook. Here’s why:

  1. The stock market’s long term risk:reward is no longer bullish.
  2. The stock market’s medium term is mostly neutral (i.e. next 6 months)
  3. The stock market’s short term has a slight bearish lean.

We focus on the long term and the medium term.

Long Term

While the bull market could keep going on, the long term risk:reward no longer favors bulls. Towards the end of a bull market, risk:reward is more important than the stock market’s most probable long term direction.

Some leading indicators are showing signs of deterioration. The usual chain of events looks like this:

  1. Housing – the earliest leading indicators – starts to deteriorate. This has occurred already
  2. The labor market starts to deteriorate. Meanwhile, the U.S. stock market is in a long term topping process. We are in the early stages of this process, but the deterioration is not significant.
  3. Other economic indicators start to deteriorate. The bull market is definitely over, and a recession has started. A U.S. recession is not imminent right now

Let’s look at the data besides our Macro Index

The yield curve remains stubbornly flat, even as the stock market rallies. This is to be expected, because an inverted yield curve typically precedes bear markets and recessions.

Source: FRED

Recent readings for the housing market rebounded a little. However, the key point is that housing remains in a downtrend.

Here’s the main trend in the NAHB Housing Market Index.

Here’s what happens next to the S&P when the NAHB Housing Market Index is under its 12 month moving average for 9 consecutive months.

This happens near a lot of problems in the stock market and U.S. economy.

  1. November 1987: this occurred after the October 1987 crash.
  2. July 1990: this occurred at the start of the 1990 recession and -20% stock market decline
  3. December 1994: this was a false signal. The economy deteriorated a little in early 1995, yet the stock market soared
  4. May 2000: this occurred at the top of the dot-com bubble. It was followed by a massive -50% bear market
  5. May 2006: this occurred 1.5 years before the 2007-2009 bear market
  6. December 2007: this occurred at the start of the 2007-2009 bear market
  7. February 2011: a -20% stock market decline began 5 months later

This generally isn’t a good sign for the stock market. It’s not immediately bearish, but it is something bulls should watch out for IF the downtrend in housing persists.

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