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Market Pulse: Be wary of meaningless headlines

David Vomund
Provided

Technical analysts use mathematics and chart patterns to determine entry and exit points for stocks and the overall market. But math and charts do not make for compelling reading so technicians don’t get a lot of press. Nevertheless, there is one indicator that is in the headlines each time it gives a buy or sell signal.

The “Golden Cross” buy signal occurs when the market’s 50-day moving average rises above its 200-day moving average. Conversely, the “Death Cross” sell signal occurs when the 50-day falls below the 200-day. I suspect this indicator is reported because of its dramatic names.

Last week CNBC reported a Golden Cross buy signal on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since it was featured one can assume the signal was meaningful. Nope. The Golden Cross buy signal occurred on Aug. 6 when the Dow reached 27,387. That came after a March 23 Death Cross sell signal. That signal came the day of the market’s low. Having portfolios fall 34%, selling, and then completely missing a 50% advance would be tortuous and embarrassing.

Other things to ignore are interviews with famous analysts and investors. In March, at the market low renowned hedge fund manager Bill Ackman gave a now famous “Hell is coming” interview on CNBC that some say pushed stocks 4% lower. While he did also say he was a buyer, most viewers saw the interview as scary and bearish. It turns out he had a bearish position at the time but then flipped to bullish shortly thereafter. His fund is having a spectacular year, but those who sold based on his interview didn’t know his subsequent moves.

He wasn’t the only Wall Street wizard with bearish comments. A month after the March low, Bond King Jeffrey Gundlach saw a retest was “very plausible” and that he was short the stock market. Legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller was bearish on stocks two months after the low. Mark Cuban, Paul Tudor Jones, and David Tepper were also notable skeptics. Or at least they were when they were interviewed. What they’ve done with their portfolios after their interviews is unknown, which is why investors shouldn’t trade based on them.

Finally, there are those analysts whose forecasts make them right no matter what happens. As I write, here are two headlines on Yahoo Finance: “The stock market is in a bubble — but the bubble is likely to get bigger” and “Strategist: ‘I’m so bearish, I’m bullish.’”

For investors, this is just background noise. Ignore it.

David Vomund is an Incline Village-based Independent Investment Advisor. Information is found at http://www.VomundInvestments.com or by calling 775-832-8555. Consult your financial advisor before purchasing any security.


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