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Jeff Saut at Raymond James, entered the year very cautious and continues to think we are in the middle range of a selling stampede. In addition he points to the interesting fact that markets rarely bottom on a Friday.  Many pundits have pointed to the action in Friday’s market as being very similar to other large volume trend reversals off of a panic bottom.  Saut is not so convinced:

“Recall that “selling stampedes” tend to last 17 – 25 sessions, with only one- to three-session counter-trend rallies, before they exhaust themselves on the downside.  Therefore, we “put blinders on” to last Friday’s late-day upside reversal, consistent with our mantra of “never on a Friday.” That mantra was learned from numerous Friday “head fakes” implying that markets rarely bottom on a Friday once they are into a downtrend. Rather, participants tend to go home over the weekend, brood about their losses, and show up the following week in “sell mode.” So, while the markets may attempt to build on Friday’s late reversal, we have little confidence that any rally will last more than one to three sessions since today is only session 14 from the trading top of January 19th.”

Saut is also suspect of the new secular bull market chatter:

“we remain suspect this is the first leg of a new secular bull market. Rather, we think it is just another “bull move” within the context of the range-bound stock market we have been mired in for the last 10 years. Another driver of Friday’s reversal could have been the “break” below 10,000 on the DJIA, which is also a psychological support level that should be respected.”

Backing up his continued near-term bearish thesis is action in the metals.  Saut made a prescient call in mid January when he referred to the copper markets as being overheated and warranting some caution in equity markets:

“Then there is ‘Dr. Copper,’ the metal with a Ph.D. in economics, which recently recorded a 12-month rolling rate of return in excess of 150%. Historically such a ‘copper cropper’ has marked a ‘trading top’ in copper and telegraphed caution for the equity markets.”

More recently, in our verbal strategy comments, we have referenced the gold to silver ratio (the gold price divided by the silver price; currently ~71 to 1) by noting when that ratio has “spiked” like it has recently, it too has suggested caution. All said, we remain cautious until there are convincing signs that a bottom is in place for both stocks and commodities. We do believe, however, once this correction runs its course, the major averages will trade to new reaction highs.

In summary, Saut remains cautious in the near-term but does view this as a correction within a short-term bull move.  His call for this week:

The call for this week: Economist, historian, and savvy seer Eliot Janeway stated decades ago, “When the White House is in trouble, the markets are in trouble!” Plainly, we agree and would add that the January Barometer has registered a cautionary signal, as has Lucien Hooper’s December Low indicator. That said, Friday’s turnaround, accompanied by pretty oversold readings, should lead to some sort of one- to three-session rally attempt. To that point, the NASDAQ 100 (NDX/1746.12) was “up” last week (+0.29%), as was Info Tech (+0.72%), Materials (+0.83%), and Natural Gas (+6.7%); so they may lead the “bounce.” Luckily, we have investments in all of these complexes. However, at session 14, in the envisioned 17- to 25-session “selling stampede, we remain cautious.

Source: Raymond James

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