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Shift of Bull/Bear Positions by Analysts is No Turboglide

02/21/2018 4:20 pm EST

Focus: MARKETS

Gene Inger

Editor, The Inger Letter

I’d thought buying would be fine for traders, not investors, and while this is all still dicey, the market remains expensive by any fair measure, writes Gene Inger who’s presenting Tuesday at the TradersExpo in New York.

Switching their pitch was an old term reserved for auto transmissions; It seamlessly adjusted speeds, without changing gears. (Buick Dynaflow and Chevy Turboglide, to those who may remember shift-point absent power transfers, which reappear now in Tesla and other electric cars.) 

chart 1

Last weekend found a far less smooth shift of positions among lots of Wall Street’s most prominent analysts; bulls becoming bears as bear advocates became bulls; even more so than seen during our projected first-half of February Flash Crash when we identified crash conditions prevailing on top of a parabolic move in late January.

chart 2

This unusual transposition remains baffling; particularly as all should be aware of the gradual firming of interest rates; semi-stealth-like, even as the Fed itself needed to do little but let paper roll-off the balance sheet.

It’s been a warning here to not fight the Fed, but too many still are.

For all practical purposes they simply don’t believe the Fed has conviction. Or they fail to realize that rolling-off paper snugs-up rates even without an overt increase in the Funds rate, which I suspect likely in March. 

chart 3

In fact, recent short-term auctions showed extraordinary demand, which in my view is not necessarily reflecting confidence in the U.S. future, but relates to the favorable exchange rate and competitive rates relative to what's available in major European or Asian markets. 

In sum: we have a market that’s skittish, as the charts note here. It’s infighting right around the resistance area anticipated in the S&P 2750 area, but now it’s shy of that mark by a good bit. 

Reasonable suspicion prevailed during the forecast automatic rally off the too-coincidental twin S&P lows at the 200-day moving average. I’d thought buying would be fine for traders, not investors, and while this is all still dicey, the market remains expensive by any fair measure.

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