By the end of 2013 we saw various divergences emerge that warned of a potential trend change ahead, and still do:
There were inversions at this point in different assets and sectors, and the Nikkei peaked-to-date 31 Dec. Various risk-off, defensive and late cyclical assets and sectors have been the dominant money flow targets since then.
The second major peak was the central peak: where the solar maximum, margin debt and the speculative-targets of RUT, IBB and COMPQ likely made aligned tops, close to the 2 Mar new moon optimism peak:
The third peak, I believe, occurred at the end of June, close to the 27 June new moon optimism peak and the mid-year inverted geomagnetism seasonal peak (again, twin optimism peaks), to complete the topping process:
Indicators showing the three peaks:
And this echoes what happened in 2000, where there was a first peak around the turn of the year (real Dow, Nikkei and FTSE all peaked 31 Dec), a second central peak around March (hot sectors, margin debt and smoothed solar maximum), and a third and final peak around August:So could stocks then run higher yet and postpone the final peak until late summer or even further out? I can’t rule it out, and it is the main threat to my positions: greater drawdown before it swings definitively my way. However, the trend in leverage suggests further price gains from here are unlikely. The COMPQ is at a suitable double top, whilst the RUT and IBB should make lower highs here to honour the Feb/Mar central peak. Various indicators are stretched to levels that are suggestive of ‘all-in’ or imminent reversal. We have mature divergences seeking satisfaction and fundamental doubts through Q1 GDP, negative economic surprises and Q2 earnings warnings.
The bull case: low rates, benign leading indicators, cumulative-advance declines. But the rhyme with 1937 is still very applicable here in my view. Low rates and a/d breadth accompanied stocks to a high overvaluation peak, like today, front-running a return to normal growth and earnings that didn’t happen, and peaking out with the solar maximum. Q1 GDP has gone some way to puncturing that normalisation assumption again, adding to the other factors being in place. Earnings season could now add to that. Once stocks fall, the wealth effect from a rising equity market will evaporate, helping tip the fragile economy over, as it did in 1937.