The main Elliott wave count expected downwards movement for Friday to a target at 2,046.
Downwards movement unfolded as expected, but fell 6.28 points short of the target.
Summary: The probability that the upwards wave is over and the next wave down has begun is very high indeed. If the bear wave count is right (and it is supported by technical analysis), the target for primary wave 3 is at 1,423. In the short term, a small fourth wave correction may continue on Monday and be followed by another fifth wave down. That would complete a five down and should be followed by a three up, which may offer a good entry point to join the trend.
To see last published monthly charts click here.
To see how each of the bull and bear wave counts fit within a larger time frame see the Grand Supercycle Analysis.
To see detail of the bull market from 2009 to the all time high on weekly charts, click here.
New updates to this analysis are in bold.
BEAR ELLIOTT WAVE COUNT
This bear wave count fits better than the bull with the even larger picture, super cycle analysis found here. It is also well supported by regular technical analysis at the monthly chart level.
Importantly, there is no lower invalidation point for this wave count. That means there is no lower limit to this bear market.
Primary wave 1 is complete and lasted 19 weeks. Primary wave 2 is either over lasting 28 weeks, or it may continue for another one or two weeks.
The long upper shadow on last week’s green weekly candlestick is bearish. This week completes a bearish engulfing candlestick pattern.
Primary wave 2 may be complete as a rare running flat. Just prior to a strong primary degree third wave is the kind of situation in which a running flat may appear. Within primary wave 2, intermediate wave (A) was a deep zigzag (which will also subdivide as a double zigzag). Intermediate wave (B) fits perfectly as a zigzag and is a 1.21 length of intermediate wave (A). This is within the normal range for a B wave of a flat of 1 to 1.38.
It is possible but highly unlikely at the close of this week that primary wave 2 could yet move a little higher. If it does, then intermediate wave (C) should end above 2,116.48 to avoid a truncation. Primary wave 2 would then be a very common expanded flat.
If price moves above 2,116.48, then the alternate bear wave count would be invalidated. At that stage, if there is no new alternate for the bear, then this would be the only bear wave count.
Primary wave 2 may not move beyond the start of primary wave 1 above 2,134.72. When there is some price confirmation that primary wave 2 is over, then the invalidation point may be moved down to its end. Price is the ultimate determinator. This is the risk while we do not have final price confirmation.
Intermediate wave (A) fits as a single or double zigzag.
Intermediate wave (B) fits perfectly as a zigzag. There is no Fibonacci ratio between minor waves A and C.
Intermediate wave (C) must subdivide as a five wave structure. It may be a complete impulse.
If intermediate wave (C) is over, then the truncation is small at only 5.43 points. This may occur right before a very strong third wave pulls the end of intermediate wave (C) downwards. Price confirmation of a trend change would come with a new low below 2,039.74.
The next wave down for this wave count would be a strong third wave at primary wave degree. At 1,423 primary wave 3 would reach 2.618 the length of primary wave 1. This is the appropriate ratio for this target because primary wave 2 is very deep at 0.91 of primary wave 1. If this target is wrong, it may be too high. The next Fibonacci ratio in the sequence would be 4.236 which calculates to a target at 998. That looks too low, unless the degree of labelling is moved up one and this may be a third wave down at cycle degree just beginning. I know that possibility right now may seem absurd, but it is possible.
Alternatively, primary wave 3 may not exhibit a Fibonacci ratio to primary wave 1. When intermediate waves (1) through to (4) within the impulse of primary wave 3 are complete, then the target may be calculated at a second wave degree. At that stage, it may change or widen to a small zone.
Redraw the channel about the impulse of intermediate wave (C) using Elliott’s second technique: draw the first trend line from the ends of the second to fourth waves at minor degree, then place a parallel copy on the end of minor wave 3. Minor wave 5 may end midway within the channel. The channel is now breached decisively at the daily chart level. This provides some reasonable confidence in a trend change.
Because expanded flats do not fit nicely within trend channels, a channel about their C waves may be used to indicate when the expanded flat is over. After a breach of the lower edge of the channel, if price then exhibits a typical throwback to the trend line, then it may offer a perfect opportunity to join primary wave 3 down. At this stage, it looks like this is not going to happen in a bigger way. The upper edge of Thursdays candlestick may have been a small throwback.
Within minor wave 5, no second wave correction may move beyond the start of its first wave below 2,039.74. A new low below 2,039.74 could not be a second wave correction within minor wave 5, so at that stage minor wave 5 would have to be over. This would confirm a trend change.
Primary wave 1 lasted 98 days (not a Fibonacci number). Primary wave 2 may have lasted 140 days.
So far to the downside there is not a complete five wave impulse. Minor wave 1 still needs minute waves iv and v to complete.
There is no Fibonacci ratio between minute waves i and iii. This makes it more likely that minute wave v will exhibit a Fibonacci ratio to either of minute waves i or iii. Because minute wave iv is not over, the start of minute wave v is not known, so a target may not yet be calculated. The most common Fibonacci ratio for a fifth wave is equality with the first, which would see minute wave v about 33.53 points in length. The next common ratio is either 0.618 or 1.618 the length of the first. This would see minute wave v either 20.72 points in length of 54.25 points in length.
Draw a channel using Elliott’s first technique about minor wave 1 down: the first trend line from the ends of minute waves i to iii, then a parallel copy on minute wave ii. For this instance add a mid line. Minute wave iv may end about mid way within this channel.
Minute wave ii was a deep 0.68 double zigzag. Given the guideline of alternation, minute wave iv may be expected to be shallow and either a flat, combination or triangle. It may also be a quick shallow single zigzag. Alternation is a guideline, not a rule, and the S&P just does not always exhibit perfect alternation.
The most likely point for minute wave iv to end would be about the 0.382 Fibonacci ratio at 2,070. Minute wave iv may not move into minute wave i price territory above 2,077.52.
If price moves above 2,077.52 on Monday, then it may not be a fourth wave correction. At that stage, the degree of labelling within minute wave iii would be moved down one degree. Minuette wave (i) would be complete and upwards movement would be minuette wave (ii) which may not move beyond the start of minuette wave (i) at 2,099.89. At that stage, upwards movement would be expected to end either at the 0.618 Fibonacci ratio at 2,082, or to find final resistance at the cyan bear market trend line about 2,100. If that happens on Monday, it would offer a perfect entry point for a short position.
Firstly, expect surprises now to be to the downside. If I am wrong, it will be with targets not low enough and corrections expected but not turning up or being more shallow than expected. Look at the big picture, the weekly chart. Any entry point about here may be profitable within a week most likely. Risk reward ratios are at this stage very high indeed. Stops may now be set short term just above 2,077.52, or for the more adventurous and risk tolerant just above 2,111.05. That would allow for another second wave correction, and there is one to come.
In the short term, if this wave unfolds smoothly, then right now is not the best entry point. A five down should complete, and be followed by a three up. That would be the best entry point, but traders may have to be nimble to catch it. The risk is primary degree third waves can move VERY fast, with quick shallow corrections. There is a risk right now that the S&P could fall off a cliff very fast. Which means that right now may be a good entry point.
There are two approaches right now: tolerate more risk and enter short on Monday. Or be nimble and try to reduce risk by waiting for the upcoming second wave correction and enter short on the bounce. How each trader approaches this is an individual choice. Some are more risk tolerant. If you don’t mind waiting a few days to a week while your position may be underwater, then enter here. If you prefer to see your position underwater for only a day or so and you can be nimble, then wait. But that involves a risk that either I am wrong about the second wave bounce to come or that it is quicker and shallower than expected and you miss it.
My personal approach will be to wait for the second wave bounce to increase my short position. I will be up watching the market when I expect it may happen, so I will be here to contribute to the comments section on that day. My tolerance for risk is very low.
Do not risk more than 3-5% of equity on any one trade. Always use a stop loss order to protect your account.
ALTERNATE HOURLY CHART
It is still just possible that primary wave 2 may not be complete. Intermediate wave (C) may yet be able to move above 2,116.48 to avoid a truncation and a rare running flat.
The degree of labelling within minor wave 5 is moved down one degree. The upwards wave to the last high may be only minute wave i within minor wave 5.
Minute wave ii may not move beyond the start of minute wave i below 2,039.74.
Minute wave ii is seen here as a double combination, but it no longer looks right. The second structure in the double is technically an expanded flat, which is okay. But it is deepening the correction, giving the whole structure of minute wave ii a downwards slope where it should be just sideways.
The first structure in the double labelled minuette wave (w) is a zigzag. The double is joined by a three, a simple zigzag in the opposite direction labelled minuette wave (x).
The second structure is an expanded flat labelled minuette wave (y). Both of subminuette waves a and b subdivide as threes, as they must for a flat. Subminuette wave b is a 1.21 length of subminuette wave a. This is over the requirement of 1.05 for an expanded flat, and within normal range of 1 to 1.38 for a B wave within a flat.
Subminuette wave c is a complete impulse and has no Fibonacci ratio to subminuette wave a.
This wave count requires a new high above 2,111.05 for confirmation. Classic technical analysis has today reduced the probability of this wave count. The probability is low. Low probability is not the same as no probability; this wave count still illustrates the risk to any short positions here.
ALTERNATE WEEKLY CHART
Primary wave 1 may subdivide as one of two possible structures. The main bear count sees it as a complete impulse. This alternate sees it as an incomplete leading diagonal.
The diagonal must be expanding because intermediate wave (3) is longer than intermediate wave (1). Leading expanding diagonals are not common structures, so that reduces the probability of this wave count to an alternate.
Intermediate wave (4) may continue higher now and may find resistance at the bear market trend line.
ALTERNATE DAILY CHART
Within a leading diagonal, subwaves 2 and 4 must subdivide as zigzags. Subwaves 1, 3 and 5 are most commonly zigzags but may also sometimes appear to be impulses.
Intermediate wave (3) down fits best as a zigzag.
In a diagonal the fourth wave must overlap first wave price territory. The rule for the end of a fourth wave is it may not move beyond the end of the second wave.
Within diagonals the second and fourth waves are commonly between 0.66 to 0.81 the prior wave. Here, intermediate wave (2) is 0.93 of intermediate wave (1) and intermediate wave (4) is 0.98 of intermediate wave (3). This is possible, but the probability of this wave count is further reduced due to the depth of these waves.
Expanding diagonals are not very common. Leading expanding diagonals are less common.
Intermediate wave (5) must be longer than intermediate wave (3), so it must end below 1,804.67. Confirmation of the end of the upwards trend for intermediate wave (4) would still be required before confidence may be had in a trend change, in the same way as that for the main bear wave count.
BULL ELLIOTT WAVE COUNT
Within primary wave C downwards, intermediate wave (2) is seen as an atypical double zigzag. It is atypical in that it moves sideways. Double zigzags should have a clear slope against the prior trend to have the right look. Within a double zigzag, the second zigzag exists to deepen the correction when the first zigzag does not move price deep enough. Not only does this second zigzag not deepen the correction, it fails to move at all beyond the end of the first zigzag. This structure technically meets rules, but it looks completely wrong. This gives the wave count a low probability.
This part of the structure is highly problematic for the bull wave count. It is not possible to see cycle wave IV as complete without a big problem in terms of Elliott wave structure.
Cycle wave II was a shallow 0.41 zigzag lasting three months. Cycle wave IV may be a complete shallow 0.19 regular flat correction, exhibiting some alternation with cycle wave II.
At 2,500 cycle wave V would reach equality in length with cycle wave I.
Price remains below the final bear market trend line. This line is drawn from the all time high at 2,134.72 to the swing high labelled primary wave B at 2,116.48 on November 2015. This line is drawn using the approach outlined by Magee in the classic “Technical Analysis of Stock Trends”. To use it correctly we should assume that a bear market remains intact until this line is breached by a close of 3% or more of market value. In practice, that price point would be a new all time high which would invalidate any bear wave count.
This wave count requires price confirmation with a new all time high above 2,134.72.
While price has not made a new high, while it remains below the final bear market trend line and while technical indicators point to weakness in upwards movement, this very bullish wave count comes with a strong caveat. I still do not have confidence in it.
If the bull market has resumed, it must begin with a five wave structure upwards at the daily and weekly chart level. That may today be complete. The possible trend change at intermediate degree still requires confirmation in the same way as the alternate hourly bear wave count outlines before any confidence may be had in it.
If intermediate wave (2) begins here, then a reasonable target for it to end would be the 0.618 Fibonacci ratio of intermediate wave (1) about 1,920. Intermediate wave (2) must subdivide as a corrective structure. It may not move beyond the start of intermediate wave (1) below 1,810.10.
In the long term, this wave count absolutely requires a new high above 2,134.72 for confirmation. This would be the only wave count in the unlikely event of a new all time high. All bear wave counts would be fully and finally invalidated.
Click chart to enlarge. Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com.
We have a bearish engulfing candlestick pattern at the end of this week. This has occurred at the round number of 2,100 which increases the significance. Volume on the second candlestick is higher than volume on the first candlestick, which further increases the significance. That it is at the weekly chart level is further significance.
Engulfing patterns are the strongest reversal patterns.
This is a very strong bearish signal. It adds significant weight to the expectation of a trend change. It does not tell us how low the following movement must go, only that it is likely to be at least of a few weeks duration.
There is a weak bearish signal from On Balance Volume at the weekly chart level with a break below the green line. A stronger bearish signal would be a break below the purple line. OBV looks bearish.
There is hidden bearish divergence between Stochastics and price at the last high and the high of November 2015. Stochastics has moved further into overbought territory, but this has failed to translate into a corresponding new high in price. Price is weak. MACD exhibits the same hidden bearish divergence.
After a period of declining ATR, it should be expected to turn and begin to increase.
Click chart to enlarge. Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com.
Volume data on StockCharts is different to that given from NYSE, the home of this index. Comments on volume will be based on NYSE volume data when it differs from StockCharts.
The support line is clearly and decisively breached. This strongly indicates the S&P has seen a trend change.
Two days in a row of falling price come on increasing volume. Both days have volume higher than all prior upwards days right back to 7th March. This looks like a downwards break below support.
Now that price has broken below the purple horizontal support line at 2,080, it may find resistance there for a throwback. If price moves above 2,080, then it may possibly come back up to the support / resistance line at 2,100 although this now looks less likely.
The 200 day moving average has flattened off after showing a very slight increase. It is again indicating the bear market is intact. There has been no new major swing high, so the last wave up from February to April is likely to be fully retraced.
An Evening Doji Star candlestick pattern is completed at the last high. This is a reversal pattern and offers some support for expecting a high is in place. The fact that this pattern has occurred at the round number of 2,100 is more significant. There is light volume on the first candle in the pattern and heavier volume on the third candle in the pattern. This increases the probability of a reversal.
On Balance Volume today is giving a bearish signal with a break below the yellow line. This is decisive, but the line does not have strong technical significance. A stronger signal would come with a break below the purple or pink lines.
ADX is today indicating a trend change with the +DX line crossing below the -DX line. If the ADX line now turns up, it would be indicating a new downwards trend.
ATR may beginning to turn up. After a long period of declining, ATR should be expected to again show an increase. It is important to note that ATR declined while price moved higher for over 40 days. This is not normal for a trending market. There was something wrong with that wave up. If it was a bear market rally and not a new bull market, then declining ATR makes more sense.
Neither of RSI, MACD nor Stochastics are extreme. There is plenty of room for this market to fall.
INVERTED VIX DAILY CHART
Click chart to enlarge. Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com.
Volatility declines as inverted VIX climbs. This is normal for an upwards trend.
What is not normal here is the divergence over a reasonable time period between price and inverted VIX (green lines). The decline in volatility is not translating to a corresponding increase in price. Price is weak. This divergence is bearish.
Price made a new short term high, but VIX has failed to make a corresponding high (pink lines). This is regular bearish divergence. It indicates further weakness in the trend.
22nd April’s small green doji candlestick overall saw sideways movement in price, closing very slightly up for the day. Yet inverted VIX has made new highs above the prior high of 20th of April. Volatility declined for 22nd April, but this was not translated into a corresponding rise in price. Again, further indication of weakness in price is indicated. This is further hidden bearish divergence.
ADVANCE DECLINE LINE
Click chart to enlarge. Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com.
With the AD line increasing, this indicates the number of advancing stocks exceeds the number of declining stocks. This indicates that there is breadth to this upwards movement.
From November 2015 to now, the AD line is making new highs while price has so far failed to make a corresponding new high. This indicates weakness in price; the increase in market breadth is unable to be translated to increase in price.
It remains to be seen if price can make new highs beyond the prior highs of 3rd November, 2015. If price can manage to do that, then this hidden bearish divergence will no longer be correct, but the fact that it is so strong at this stage is significant. The AD line will be watched daily to see if this bearish divergence continues or disappears.
The 200 day moving average for the AD line is now increasing. This alone is not enough to indicate a new bull market. During November 2015 the 200 day MA for the AD line turned upwards and yet price still made subsequent new lows.
For two days in a row, the AD line has declined along with downwards movement in price. This indicates there is some breadth to the downwards movement.
COMMITMENT OF TRADERS (COT)
Click chart to enlarge. Chart courtesy of Qandl.
This first COT chart shows commercials. Commercial traders are more often on the right side of the market. Currently, more commercials are short the S&P than long. This has increased this week while long positions have decreased. This supports a bearish Elliott wave count, but it may also support the bullish Elliott wave count which would be expecting a big second wave correction to come soon. Either way points to a likely end to this upwards trend sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, it does not tell exactly when upwards movement must end.
*Note: these COT figures are for futures only markets. This is not the same as the cash market I am analysing, but it is closely related enough to be highly relevant.
Click chart to enlarge. Chart courtesy of Qandl.
Non commercials are more often on the wrong side of the market than the right side of the market. Currently, non commercials are predominantly long, and increasing. This supports the expectation of a trend change soon.
I am choosing to use the S&P500, Dow Industrials, Dow Transportation, Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 index. Major swing lows are noted below. So far the Industrials, Transportation and Russell 2000 have made new major swing lows. None of these indices have made new highs.
I am aware that this approach is extremely conservative. Original Dow Theory has already confirmed a major trend change as both the industrials and transportation indexes have made new major lows.
At this stage, if the S&P500 and Nasdaq also make new major swing lows, then my modified Dow Theory would confirm a major new bear market. At that stage, my only wave count would be the bear wave count.
The lows below are from October 2014. These lows were the last secondary correction within the primary trend which was the bull market from 2009.
These lows must be breached by a daily close below each point.
DJIA: 15,855.12 – close below on 25th August 2015.
DJT: 7,700.49 – close below on 24th August 2015.
Russell 2000: 1,343.51 – close below on 25th August 2015.
To the upside, DJIA has made a new major swing high above its prior major high of 3rd November, 2015, at 17,977.85. But DJT has so far failed to confirm because it has not yet made a new major swing high above its prior swing high of 20th November, 2015, at 8,358.20. Dow Theory has therefore not yet confirmed a new bull market. Neither the S&P500, Russell 2000 nor Nasdaq have made new major swing highs.
This analysis is published @ 04:41 a.m. EST on 30th April, 2016.