Art's Charts

The Damage is Done with the Expansion of New Lows


The broad market environment is the single most important factor to consider when investing in stocks or stock-related ETFs. Are we in a bull market or a bear market? The recent expansion of new lows and the 5/200 cross in the S&P 500 suggest that we are in a bear market environment.

The chart below shows the S&P 500 in the top window and the High-Low Percent indicators for four major indexes in the lower windows (S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400, S&P SmallCap 600 and Nasdaq 100). First and foremost, the S&P 500 is in a downtrend because the 5-day SMA (green) is around 5.5% below the 200-day SMA (red). The S&P 500 is the most important benchmark for US stocks and a downtrend bodes ill for most stocks.

The High-Low Percent indicators were strong until November 2021, took a hit in December and turned bearish here in 2022. The red arrows show S&P 500 High-Low% and S&P MidCap 400 High-Low% dipping below -10% in late February. Prior to that, S&P SmallCap 600 High-Low% and Nasdaq 100 High-Low% dipped below -10% in late January. These moves below -10% broke my bearish threshold and show an expansion of new lows throughout the market. This is bearish for the broader market.

High-Low Percent equals the percentage of stocks hitting new 52-week highs in an index less the percentage hitting new 52-week lows. A stock is in a strong downtrend and leading lower when hitting a 52-week low. The more stocks in strong downtrends, the more bearish for the market. The green lines are at +10% and the red lines are at -10%.

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This week's Next Level Charting video (here) covered the bullish setup in the 10-yr Treasury Yield (bearish for bonds), the breakouts in the Silver and Defense ETFs, and the long-term bullish setups in some clean energy ETFs.   

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Arthur Hill, CMT

Chief Technical Strategist,

Author, Define the Trend and Trade the Trend

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Arthur Hill
About the author: , CMT, is the Chief Technical Strategist at Focusing predominantly on US equities and ETFs, his systematic approach of identifying trend, finding signals within the trend, and setting key price levels has made him an esteemed market technician. Arthur has written articles for numerous financial publications including Barrons and Stocks & Commodities Magazine. In addition to his Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation, he holds an MBA from the Cass Business School at City University in London. Learn More
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