Persistent Volatility Runs Into Resistance & Exuberant Sentiment
By: Jeffrey A. Hirsch
June 11, 2020
We have all been gobsmacked by velocity and strength of this V-shaped rally off the March 23 bear market low. For the record this rally became an official Ned Davis Research defined bull market on May 26 when DJIA was up 30% from the low when it made a new recovery high after 50 calendar days (see NDR definitions below). And this was on the back of the shortest bear market on record, which lasted only 40 days. Today’s market comeuppance is an important reminder that we need to be patient with this market and heed our cautious analysis and stance. 
This is still the “Worst Six Months” and as we warned in the May Outlook when the market is down during the “Best Six Months” (November-April) as they were in 2020, the “Worst Six Months” (May-October) were down or flat 86% of the time with a median S&P decline of -6.7% since 1950. 
Other seasonal indicators are also flashing the caution sign. This year’s negative January Barometer and breached December DJIA low, point to possible retests of the lows and choppy, volatile trading over the next several months. See the updated composite graph of the seasonal pattern for these 22 years since 1950 in the June Outlook.
It appears that quite a fair amount of hope was built into the rally. Lots of hope that everything is just going back to the way it was real soon. But COVID cases are on the climb again and folks are concerned that a pause and/or reverse of reopening could delay the economic recovery and derail the bull. Up until the past few days it felt like mid-February again with the market ignoring economic and corporate data as momentum pushed everything higher.
The jobs report was a bit unbelievable and then Fed Chairman Powell’s candor and reserved outlook at yesterday’s press conference put the fear right back into the market today. Meanwhile the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model currently estimates that 2020 Q2 GDP growth will be down -48.5%. 
Sentiment had also become rather exuberant as the Weekly CBOE Equity Only Put/Call ratio we track in the “Pulse of the Market” hit 0.43 last week – its lowest level since the week ending 4/10/2010 about three weeks before the infamous flash crash. Investor’s Intelligence Advisors Sentiment survey Bullish advisors are now up to 56.9%. Correction advisors are down to 22.5% while Bearish advisors have slipped further to 20.6%, putting us at caution levels.
S&P 500 Technical Chart
Technically, things deteriorated rapidly today. After blasting through several levels of resistance we have been tracking as shown in the chart here S&P 500 stalled at 3210 and plunged 5.9% today through 3115 support/resistance and closed just below 3010 support/resistance which sits at the 2019 summer highs. The next major support level below here is 2725 right near where the 50-day moving average turned up in mid-May, which would be a 15.7% correction from the recent recovery high reached this past Monday, June 8.
Hope springs eternal, but caution remains the prudent course of action.
Ned Davis Research bull and bear market definitions:
A cyclical bull market requires a 30% rise in the DJIA after 50 calendar days or a 13% rise after 155 calendar days. Reversals of 30% in the Value Line Geometric Index since 1965 also qualify. A cyclical bear market requires a 30% drop in the DJIA after 50 calendar days or a 13% decline after 145 calendar days. Reversals in the Value Line Geometric Index also qualify. Bull and bear markets are measured at peak and trough dates, so both the time and price criteria must be met as of the peak and trough dates.