Dow: Bubble or blow-off top?
On Tuesday, Feb. 28, it appeared markets were very anxious about the new president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress. Then Donald Trump hit it out of the park. Even some of his harshest critics were positive. Chris Wallace of FOX and Van Jones of CNN each said Tuesday was the night Trump finally became President of the United States.
Then the market went ballistic on Wednesday morning. You can see what the Dow E-mini looked like in the chart below.
I want you to concentrate for the moment not on the aggregate picture but the lower left hand corner. What happened was what resembled an ending diagonal wedge formed. To me, that looked like it could be a top right there. But they weren’t done. The pattern built a skyscraper and I have to admit seeing a failed wedge followed by a parabolic spike had me thinking of the potential of a real bubble. Is it a bubble or is it a blow-off top?
If you seriously study bubble patterns, they resemble failed wedges, which are the lift-off phase which are only the setup for what comes next. We saw this condition in 1999 and in other mania type patterns. Then they found a high at 21162 and retreated. Okay, it’s not going to be a bubble. Then late in the day it had one of those rallies we discussed last week which may have been some rebalancing of the passive ETF funds as it was getting late in the day. I don’t know for certain but that Zero Hedge article we discussed last week was fresh in my mind. Then at 161 minutes after a 21162 peak, the pattern turned down for the rest of the week.
The Dow E-mini had been recovering since Thursday into Friday’s close. But it gapped down on Sunday night and as I’m looking at the pattern dinnertime Sunday evening it’s at the lowest level since this peak. What was the apparent justification?
First, let me say that even as several of the charts jumped the shark and invalidated some of the time windows we had working last week at this time, this peak has some new ones and they are good enough to create problems for the market. The best reading I have is the Dow at 21169 at 170 trading days up from the Brexit low. But there was plenty to be upset about. The headline read North Korea fired multiple missiles and the Japanese issued a protest.
But domestically the euphoria seemed to subside with all the political news, which are best left on the scandal page for now. But tensions are rising between China and South Korea who now wants the United States to deploy a missile shield in response to the North Korean act of aggression. The Chinese are prepared to enact an economic war against the United States in case that develops.
So, it wasn’t the ignition of a bubble. Could it have been a blow-off top? Given Wednesday morning was a gap up for U.S. markets and Monday morning could be a gap down that would potentially end up being an island top. Last week Investor’s Intelligence percent of bulls hit 63.1 which is the highest reading since 1987. It would be hard to imagine the market staying the course higher from here without some correction.