TrimTabs Has Competition

The Daily Jobs Update is now up and running and competing head-to-head with TrimTabs in reporting on trends in the withholding-tax data. The flagship chart shown here depicts the
business cycle of the US economy by plotting the second derivative of growth in the paychecks of American workers. Such advanced charts are not available anywhere else. (Click the chart to go to the live version which will update every business day at 4pm EST.)

In March of 2008, as the economy was poised to take one of its steepest dives in history, TrimTabs proclaimed the recession to be over, citing “growth” in the withholding data. Preposterous! At the same time, I posted “Withholding Craters!” here on the blog.

TrimTabs charges thousands of dollars for their research. And not only do I charge a tiny fraction of that on, but I provide awesome charts that update as soon as the Treasury Department releases the data each day.

Note to financial media: There’s a new sheriff in Withholding Town. Check with me before publishing something to make sure that you have the straight story.

Take that TrimTabs!

And since Goldman Sachs owns a stake in TrimTabs, take that Goldman Sachs!

Note: You will be pleased to know that the Alexa rating of is, already, far above that of

Note: the chart above is delayed by 90 days. So, it is current through 3Q09. Only subscribers can see the real-time charts, though both sets of charts update every day.

Thursday’s Trading – 12/31/09

For the bulls: The market has gone sideways since December 24th when it hit an extreme overbought condition on the McClellan Oscillator. That type of consolidation is almost always a bullish indicator.

For the bears: DIA has eked-out new highs, but it’s not exactly breaking out of its range. Exxon has stabilized, but is down below its 200-day moving average, which is not supposed to happen in a bull market. And if it is making a bear-flag on its daily chart, then the Dow has a serious problem.

Wednesday’s Trading – 12/30/09

On Tuesday night on CNBC, “Fast Money” opened with a story about how retail investors put money back into stocks last week. This is very curious because the mutual-fund industry’s trade organization, the ICI, won’t publish that data until this afternoon. Why do I get the feeling that Bob Pisani was instructed to sing a different tune after his comments on the subject Monday night? Exxon has stabilized over the past week, so that is a potential sign that the wave of redemptions might be easing up. We will see, but even so, there is no way the mutual funds are going to regain the $50 billion that was pulled out in 2009.

One of the guys on Fast Money also said that Morgan Stanley was “winning the PR battle” with Goldman Sachs. Maybe as far as bonuses are concerned, but the Virgin Islands’ pension fund is suing MS for selling them a “Triple A” CDO which turned out to actually be “Triple F”. Now that the bulk of the banking crisis is over, why not hunt down a few criminals?

Tuesday’s Trading – 12/29/09

On “Fast Money” on CNBC Monday night, Bob Pisani finally put the smack down on that dope Pete Najarian. Here I am on November 23rd, debunking his idiotic “Mutual Fund Monday.” Since that time, as I have been mentioning lately, the mutual funds have continued to report redemptions. So when Ponytail started raving about this week’s fabulous Mutual Fund Monday rally, I was gratified to see Bob Pisani slap him right upside the head at 3:40 into this video. Either Pisani reads this blog, or my readers email him with my ideas because I frequently see my memes controlling his brain.

DIA finally closed above its December 14th gap, and XOM is up two days in a row. If the pressure is off XOM, then the Dow can join the SPX and NDX and break out of its range. DIA has a new closing high now, but the intra-day high is still up at 105.38 from December 14th. The market is rather overbought here, so it will be telling whether or not DIA is able to pull it off.

Monday’s Trading – 12-28-09

The McClellan Oscillator is in overbought territory, and the VIX is near its lower Bollinger Band on the daily chart. So, those are cautionary signs for the bulls this week.

The IWM finally broke decisively above its October 6, 2008 gap, though it took 3.5 months to do so after I first posted the chart back here. The IWM may be intending to fill its TARP gap like the QQQQ has done. To do so, it needs to hit 70.63, which is another 10% up from here.

DIA has not broken out of its range yet. To see why, just pull up a monthly chart of XOM and take a look at its December candle. Nasty, right? XOM did manage to rally a bit on Friday, and if it can extend the momentum, that might be an indication that the wave of redemptions that has hit mutual funds is easing up.

Now that Christmas is in the rear-view mirror, let’s see if businesses go back to slashing labor costs. The UPS guy will be making less overtime pay, and department-store Santas have been given their walking papers, so if the payroll data holds up, then that might be a sign that something good is happening on the jobs front. And if something doesn’t happen soon, the Democrats are toast at the mid-term elections in November. Their campaign slogan will be: “We didn’t bring your job back from China, but we’re giving you free health care.” That will work about as well as the Republican’s “Recession? What recession?” slogan did in 2008.

Take a look at the IYT’s intra-day chart from Friday. The pattern is not an exhaustion gap, but it looks similar with that early-morning peak. It may have just printed a double-top with the December 15th peak. If it sticks this week, that would be a bearish omen.

The XLF’s 50-day moving average is threatening to cross below the 100-day. It’s not a death cross; just a gravely-ill cross.

Like it or not, Iraq is part of the American Empire, and I was amazed when the Iranian army seized one of our oil wells in Iraq recently. It isn’t often that somebody tries to bite off a piece of US turf. What was even more amazing was how the media down-played the event. Why would they do that? I think they were trying to help the president save face. But there is no way around the fact that the Iranians gave Obama a slap in the face. The Iranians have pulled out, but don’t be fooled – that was a significant event, and it’s a good idea to read George Friedman’s piece on the subject. In short, if the Iranians think an Israeli or US attack is coming, they have tactical incentives to begin the festivities themselves.

Note: President Bush got a nice slap from the Russians when they captured four US Humvees during the Georgia invasion in 2008. As far as I can tell, the Russians never gave them back. Here is the most recent info that I found on the subject from the BBC:

“…a senior Russian commander, Gen Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said four captured US Humvee armoured vehicles would remain in Russian hands as ‘trophies’.”

Thursday’s Trading – 12/24/09

Yesterday, I mentioned that Exxon was the boat anchor holding down the SPX and Dow. And sure enough, XOM was down again on Wednesday. But why Exxon? Why is Exxon being sold?

I believe I have solved the mystery. Almost two months ago, I wrote about how the mutual funds were suffering redemptions. Well, guess what? The redemptions have not stopped. In fact, mutual funds that invest in US stocks have now suffered redemptions for 18 weeks in a row. Hard to believe, right?

So who’s buying stocks? Pension funds? Hedge funds? Sovereign-wealth funds? The Fed? Beats me. If you have a theory, I’d be interested to hear how the the market can levitate while the mutual funds bleed out. This is a very odd market.

In any case, fund managers are likely selling Exxon to raise cash to meet redemptions. Exxon is actually down 16.4% this year, so tax-wise, it’s better than selling Apple, which is up 122.7%.

What happens in 2010 if the redemptions don’t let up? Something else has to be thrown overboard, right?

Wednesday’s Trading – 12/23/09

At first glance, it looks odd that the SPX can’t break 1120 and the Dow can’t break 10,500 while the NDX just sailed right through 1815. But the mystery is solved once you look at the Exxon (XOM) daily chart. That’s a big stock with a big effect on the large-cap indexes, and it is not validating a breakout.

Neither is oil itself (USO), or commodities in general (DBC). Energy stocks (XLE) have been the worst-performing sector over the past few weeks. The XLE is down 2.86% since November 16th.

Everybody is carrying on about how the surging dollar isn’t effecting stocks, but that isn’t exactly true. It does indeed seem to be hurting energy stocks, and might be what is preventing the SPX from breaking out after all.

This is a serious problem for the bulls. If the recovery is so fabulous, why are commodities stalled? And for the bears, if you see Exxon starting to turn up, well, let’s just say that you are being given an IQ test.

SPX Record Fractal Dimension Index Signal

It’s no secret that the market has been remarkably flat for quite a while now. So, it’s no surprise that the Fractal Dimension Index is giving an “end of range” signal. But the current 1.6584 level on the daily chart is the highest for as far back as I can make charts (1960) and could well be an all time record. See the red “x” on the chart (click to enlarge):

The market made a similar “flat top” pattern in June when the FDI went above the 1.55 threshold (blue arrows on chart). And we got a correction in that instance. But the FDI doesn’t tell us which way the market will break, just that a break is as imminent as it ever will be by fractal theory.

One thing we can probably say with confidence about this current range is that it will likely prove to be nearly impenetrable support or resistance in the future. Support if the market breaks higher, or resistance if it breaks lower.