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Is Global Trade Heating Up? Or Is It Just Leveling Out?

One of the best indicators to see how the global economy is doing is to just look at the CRB index. While we don’t expect it to be hitting new highs anytime soon, it would be nice to see it moving up at least a little. Instead as you can see in the chart below it has only managed to find some type of bottom. If it’s “The Bottom” or just “A Bottom” is besides the point for now. It is enough to see that it is not trending up.

CRB Index

crb

Another good indicator to look at to gauge the strength of the global economy is that of the Baltic Dry Index. Over the last couple of weeks we have seen many blogs and other market commentators mention that the index has been climbing. Of course what they fail to mention is that if you look at the longer term chart of the index, it is still down significantly and it makes the recent rally look insignificant.

Baltic Dry Index-Short Term

bdi

Baltic Dry Index-Long Term

bdi2

Needless to say we think that many commentators are getting ahead of themselves in saying that the economy has bottomed. In fact the vast majority of the economic indicators that we follow are still pointing straight down, without any “green shoots” characteristics. Until we can get some historically reliable indicators pointing to a bottom and/or a rebound we will be cautious as capital preservation is our first priority.

Happy Trading,

Dave@TheMacroTrader.com

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Weekly US Crude Inventory

Following up yesterdays post regarding what we see happening in the crude oil market we were happy to see the inventory numbers come out this morning and once again confirm what we have been seeing, namely that until Contango narrow significantly or goes away entirely there will be a large incentive for large energy traders to buy oil in the cash market and sell a forward contract to lock in a gain.

With Contango at 10% from the current month out to August there is a huge incentive for large speculators like global macro and energy funds as well as oil companies that have extra storage capacity to put this trade on and just sit on the oil until it has to be delivered.

Here is a chart of oil inventory data and as you can see we are at highs not seen since 1990.

Weekly US Crude Inventory

oil-inventory

Happy Trading,

Dave@TheMacroTrader.com

P.S. If you are getting value out of our posts, you can do us a favor by linking to us with your site or blog and mentioning The Macro Trader to any of your friends that trade.

Bear Markets and Bear Market Rallies

CNBC has 50 guests a day coming out and saying that this is “THE” bottom, Kass comes out and calls it a “Generational Bottom”, and investors that are flat or short are wondering if they are missing the boat.

In times like these it helps to put things into perspective. One of the ways we do this is to compare our current situation with similar times in history. As you will see in the following charts there is a good chance that you aren’t missing much at all.

This chart is of the current situation.  We have marked each move of 20% or more.  As you can see we have already had three rallies that were up 20% or more in a matter of weeks, or even days. If you had bought the top of the first 20% rally hoping to not “miss out” you would be down over 20%.

SPY-SP500 ETF

20

As you can guess this is not the first time that this has happened. Every extended bear market in history has had multiple 20% moves that have only sucked in the desperate traders only to burn them with a long fast fall back to new low. If you look at this chart of the 2000-2002 bear market we had four rallies of 20% or more before finally bottoming out and starting the 2002-2007 bull market.

SPY-SP500 2000-2002

201

Going back farther here is the 1962-82 bear market.  Here we are using the Dow and the 20%+ swings are shown in the bottom pane where a reading of 1 means that there was a rally of 20% or more and a reading of -1 means that it fell by at least 20%.

Dow 1962-72

62-82

And finally we have the Great Depression.  Looking at the lower pane we can see that there were several different 20% or greater swings.

Dow Jones 1928-1940

20-depression

The market loves to fake us out.  Bear markets are always more volatile than bull markets and this one is no different.  While this could be THE BOTTOM we tend to think that it is A BOTTOM and we are currently short.

So you may be asking what would need to happen for us to change our minds?  The simple answer is higher highs and higher lows, also known as an uptrend.  Other bullish signs would be economic indicators that actually improved instead of worsened, improved and sustained breadth, and some actual leadership.  By the way, banks will not be the new leaders.

Happy Trading,

The Macro Trader

Dave@TheMacroTrader.com

P.S.If you are interested in learning more about Macro Trading sign up for our FREE Macro Trading 101 course in the box below.

The Macro Traders US Equities Risk Index

This week we had a slight rise in the risk index.  This was once again due to the fact that Treasury bonds have been so volatile lately which has caused a few of our models to have a bit of a whipsaw.

While the readings have changed a bit, rising from 22.22% to 33.33%, the levels are still fairly bearish.  Remember that the risk index goes from 0-100% with 100% being the most bullish and 0% the most bearish so a reading of 33.33% is still pretty bad.

We could be at a short term bottom or maybe we have already hit “the bottom” but until the market internals improve considerably we won’t be putting on any large trades to the long side.  In fact right now we are focusing a lot more on the short side.

TheMacroTrader US Equity Risk Index

TheMacroTrader US Equity Risk Index

Happy Trading,

The Macro Trader
Dave@TheMacroTrader.com

P.S.If you are interested in learning more about Macro Trading sign up for our FREE Macro Trading 101 course in the box below.

US Equity Risk Index

For the week ending 1/9/09 our Equity Risk Index made a 6 month high of 38.89%. Last week crushed it and brought it all the way back to the readings we saw in November of 22.22%. When the market fell apart breadth fell apart and T-Bond relative strength picked up as money left stocks and went into bonds.

Stock Market Risk Index

So what will get the risk index climbing again? Consistent breadth, a real uptrend, and a decline in Treasuries would be a start. But what should be no surprise to our regular readers, we are not expecting that anytime soon.

Happy Trading,
TheMacroTrader.com
Dave@TheMacroTrader.com

P.S.If you are interested in learning more about Macro Trading sign up for our FREE Macro Trading 101 course in the box below.