Last week I wrote about whether the stock market had bottomed out. Since then, I feel like every single piece of news or analysis I read is uber bearish.
It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. - Yogi Berra
Why does it feel like this is yet again another unloved rally? Did the market not dance to your tune? Did the market, yet again, make you look a little foolish that you now feel as though you need to extend your bearishness and manufacture a narrative so frightening at the risk of sounding a little mad? On March 6, I wrote a piece on Consumer and Investor Contradictions. I think it's still relevant today.
The S&P 500 index is up +15.32% since it's June low, the Nasdaq is up +19.34%, and the ASX 300 is up +9.7%. These are some serious numbers, and it tells us a lot about what investors really think about the future of stocks.
We have now seen over 90% of stocks trade above their 50 day moving average (DMA), and at the same time, less than half of S&P 500 stocks have crossed back above their longer-term 200 day moving average. It's basically a trendline that is turning, with the 50-DMA being the shortest (last 50 days), next is the 100-DMA, and then the 200-DMA.
Below is a look at the S&P 500's forward performance in the weeks, months, and year following prior times when the percentage of stocks above their 50-DMAs has crossed above 90% (back to 1990). Average returns over the next week, month, three months, and six months have been double or more the historical average for all periods. And over the next year, the S&P 500 has been higher 15 of 16 times for an average gain of 18.34%. This suggests that upside thrusts in shorter-term breadth have historically been bullish for the stock market looking forward out to a year.
The current environment is also unique in that more than half of the index is still trading below its 200-DMA even though more than 90% of stocks are back above their 50-DMAs. Since 1990, only three other times have we seen this same scenario play out - April 2009, October 2011, and May 2020. As highlighted in the grey bars, the market continued to gain in the three, six, and twelve months following all three of these periods as they proved to be launching pads for longer-term rallies rather than short-term spikes that failed to materialize.
Sure, this may be a "dead cat bounce", but history tells us otherwise. Now, you can go back and listen to the talking heads in neck ties, or you can look at facts and make informed decisions about how you may want to allocate your capital.
My colleague Matt Rigby and I talk more about this in last week's The Wide Lens podcast.
You can also listen to the podcast on Spotify or wherever else you listen to your podcasts.