I know you want me to tell you that Friday's action changed the indicators. I am going to disappoint you. They remain mixed.
Breadth, for example, remains strong. It's not as strong as it has been -- last Thursday the S&P 500 was up handily and breadth was slightly red, and Friday saw the S&P rally even more than Thursday and breadth was not even plus-400. That was unimpressive. But thus far, those two weak breadth days have done nothing to change the indicators. So far it seems they are working off the overbought condition. So they remain on the bullish side of the ledger.
Also, the cumulative advance/decline line has continued to make new highs and the McClellan Summation Index, which tells us the direction of the majority of stocks, continues to rise.
But if we move over to the number of stocks making new highs, well, the story gets more murky. For example, the number of stocks making new highs on Friday was 130 on the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier in the week, with the S&P 25 handles lower, there were 177 new highs. I have even looked at common stocks-only, because the bonds were weak late in the week, so if we take out anything related to bonds, perhaps we get a different picture. But here, too, early last week there were 162 new highs and Friday a mere 96. We are on the verge of the S&P making new highs and we can't even get 100 stocks at new highs. This goes on the negative side of the ledger.
There have been so many complaints about the light volume on the rally. I often wonder where this notion came from - that volume rises on rallies and falls on declines, because that is simply not the case. Folks rarely buy in a rush. It tends to be gradual. But when you can't stand it anymore and just want to get out, well, that's when you dump it all at once.
Take a look at this chart of total volume on the NYSE plotted on a 20-day moving average. Notice the highs in volume (green arrows) tend to coordinate with lows in the S&P. And the lows in volume (red arrows) tend to coordinate with highs in price. The two blue arrows arrived in the middle of trends, so they worked, but to a lesser extent. It seems to me if you're bullish, you should hope we don't see a pick up in overall volume.
The flip side of the low-volume-is-bullish argument is that my own volume indicator is now at 48%. This indicator is up volume as a percentage of total volume. As you can see, it is quite rare to see it fall during a rally. It's not that clear, but it really does tend to go up on rallies and down on declines. So the bull case is that when it gets to the mid 40s, it becomes oversold, therefore at 48% it is almost oversold. The bear case is that we've rallied almost 200 points in the S&P, and it has gone from 52% to 48%, all while breadth has made new highs. Now that's mixed.
Then there is sentiment, which is shifting, but is not yet extreme. The 10-day moving average of the put/call ratio continues to fall, but it is not yet under 90%, although it did not get under 90% at the September high, and we managed to correct. So I will just say the fear has been wrung out.
It is the Volatility Index that I am watching closely. The Daily Sentiment Indicator for the VIX is now 17. That's the lowest since it was 15 in early July.
If the DSI should fall under 10, that would make the VIX a screaming buy, but for now I think if we look at early July, we can see that it went from 12 to 14 and came back down - a rally and back down. That seems like a likely plan for this mixed market.