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Mortgage Rates Explain Housing Weakness

weekly Chart In Focus

Housing sector stocks have been among the worst performers in 2018, and analysts are pointing to lots of different reasons including the newly imposed U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.  But an easier explanation arises when we look at interest rates.

Mortgage rates are not yet empirically “high”.  I bought my first house with a 13% mortgage, so rates that start with the number 4 still seem pretty low, at least to me and my ge-ge-generation.  The key insight contained in this week’s... Read More

Consumer Discretionary Sector Shows Enormity of the Beat-Down

weekly Chart In Focus

Investors’ appetites for risk taking can be measured with the comparison of the Consumer Discretionary sector versus Consumer Staples.  The big shift in their behavior recently shows the huge abandonment of risk appetite in October to November 2018, but it also creates a huge oversold opportunity.

The staples companies make things which consumers need all the time; our use of tooth paste and toilet paper does not vary much with the state of the economy.  But if economic prospects are... Read More

Oil’s Drop Bigger Than Called For, But Right On Schedule

weekly Chart In Focus

Crude oil prices reached a new multi-year high on October 3, and then started a dramatic drop.  It has just now fallen for 12 straight trading days to reach the lowest close since December 2017.  There are various theories about why this has happened, attributing it to comments from President Trump, OPEC chicanery, Iranian oil exports, falling demand, fracking overproduction, and all manner of other explanations.  But few of those explanations address the “when” question, concerning why this... Read More

Sunspots and the Stock Market: A Weak Relationship

weekly Chart In Focus

I was asked recently about the upcoming “grand solar minimum”, and whether it means anything for the stock market.  This is something I have looked at, and the answer is that I wish it was more meaningful than it really is.

Solar minimum is when the sunspot count bottoms out as the sun goes quieter.  The sunspot cycle averages 11 years, but over the historical record its period has varied from 9-14 years.  This week’s chart shows that at the solar minimum, there is often a noticeable bottom... Read More

Daily Timing Chart


12/07/2018 IssuesVolume(000s)
McC OSC -54.065 -172299
Sum Index -79.779 -1485509

More Data

The McClellan Oscillator


OscillatorCreated 1969, the McClellan Oscillator is recognized by technical analysts as the essential tool for measuring acceleration in the stock market. Using advance-decline statistics, it gives overbought and oversold indications, divergences, and measurements of the power of a move.