The weakness over the past several months is stark, which was made "more so" over the past two-day decline in all the major indices due to rising energy prices as well as a "punk" employment report. As a consequence of each of reports (and others) - our presumption is for consumer spending to remain weak in the weeks and months ahead...perhaps progressively becoming worse.

To understand this somewhat better, we turn to a very broad sector ratio we like to use - Consumer Discretionary (XLY) vs. Consumer Staples or (XLP). It goes without saying that if consumer spending is likely to weaken further, then consumer discretionary shares will weaken relative to the more necessary consumer staple shares. In fact, this has been occurring, but at still remains at historically high levels above 1.35. However, the emerging consolidation pattern below trendline resistance and the 40-week moving average argues for a new leg lower to have begun. If this is the case, then a move lower towards the 200-week moving average would be expected.

Hence, once again - it time to sell discretionary shares vs. staple shares, but remember...if a bear market has begun, then all shares are likely to decline...only the defensive staples shares will drop as quickly.

Chip Anderson
About the author: is the founder and president of He founded the company after working as a Windows developer and corporate consultant at Microsoft from 1987 to 1997. Since 1999, Chip has guided the growth and development of into a trusted financial enterprise and highly-valued resource in the industry. In this blog, Chip shares his tips and tricks on how to maximize the tools and resources available at, and provides updates about new features or additions to the site. Learn More
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