Research & Investment | Crude oil and buybacks

By Colin Twiggs
March 17, 2016 7:00 p.m. AEDT (4:00 a.m. EST)

Advice herein is provided for the general information of readers and does not have regard to any particular person’s investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Accordingly, no reader should act on the basis of any information contained herein without first having consulted a suitably qualified financial advisor.

At present, stock prices are heavily influenced by the price of crude oil. Whichever direction crude takes, stocks are likely to follow. The current rally in Light Crude (June 2016 Futures) is testing resistance at $42/barrel. Respect would warn of another test of primary support at $32. Breach of $32 would offer a target of $22/barrel* but we are more likely to see further consolidation (between $32 and $42) first.

WTI Light Crude June 2016 Futures

* Target calculation: 32 – ( 42 – 32 ) = 22

Another major factor influencing prices is corporate buybacks. Lu Wang at Bloomberg points out that inflows/outflows from managed funds are dwarfed by repurchases:

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index constituents are poised to repurchase as much as $165 billion of stock this quarter, approaching a record reached in 2007. The buying contrasts with rampant selling by clients of mutual and exchange-traded funds, who after pulling $40 billion since January are on pace for one of the biggest quarterly withdrawals ever.

Corporate buybacks v. Fund Outflows on S&P 500

Of more concern is that we are approaching the March quarter-end. Repurchases are expected to fall dramatically in April.

Global

Dow Jones Global Index continues to test resistance at 300 and the descending trendline. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum continues to flag a strong primary down-trend. Respect of resistance is likely and reversal below 290 would warn of another decline. Breach of 270 would confirm. Penetration of the descending trendline, however, would warn that the down-trend is losing momentum and a bottom is forming.

Dow Jones Global Index

* Target calculation: 270 – ( 300 – 270 ) = 240

North America

The S&P 500 broke resistance at 2000 and rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Respect of short-term support at 2100 would indicate a rally to 2100. But I remain wary of this rally.

S&P 500 Index

A look at the monthly chart explains why. Respect of 2100, or even a feint (false break) above the previous high of 2170 would keep the weight on the sell side (an outgoing tide). Declining 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, warns of a primary down-trend.

S&P 500 Index

* Target calculation: 1900 – ( 2100 – 1900 ) = 1700

A CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) peak below 20 indicates that (short-term) market risk has eased. But our longer-term risk measures continue to warn of elevated risk.

S&P 500 VIX

Canada’s TSX 60 is testing resistance at 800. Expect stubborn resistance at the former primary support level. A correction to test support at 700 is likely. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Momentum above zero would indicate that the primary down-trend has ended. Penetration of the descending trendline suggests that a bottom is forming. A higher trough on the next correction would be a bullish sign.

TSX 60 Index

Europe

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 found resistance at 3100 but bullish divergence on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow suggests that a test of 3300 is likely. The primary trend remains down and a lower peak, followed by reversal below 3000, would warn of decline to 2500*.

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3500 – 3000 ) = 2500

Germany’s DAX is similarly testing resistance at 10000. Breakout would indicate an advance to 11000. Buying pressure on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow appears secondary. Reversal below 9300 would warn of another decline.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9500 – ( 11000 – 9500 ) = 8000

The Footsie found stronger than expected resistance at 6250. Reversal below 6000 would warn of another test of 5500. Breach of the descending trendline suggests that a bottom is forming. A higher trough would favor a reversal. While a trough above zero on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow would strengthen the signal.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6000 – ( 6500 – 6000 ) = 5500

Asia

The Shanghai Composite Index is consolidating in a narrow range between 2700 and 2900, suggesting continuation of the primary down-trend.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3600 – 3000 ) = 2400

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index encountered stubborn resistance at 17000. Respect would warn of another test of 15000, while breakout would be likely to encounter further resistance at 18000. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow holding above zero is encouraging but I expect the primary down-trend is far from over.

Nikkei 225 Index

* Target calculation: 17000 – ( 20000 – 17500 ) = 15000

India’s Sensex is testing resistance at 25000. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow reflects strong (medium-term) buying pressure. Narrow consolidation below resistance suggests breakout is likely, which would test the upper trend channel at 26000. Respect of the trend channel is likely and would warn of another test of 22500*.

SENSEX

* Target calculation: 25000 – ( 27500 – 25000 ) = 22500

Australia

The ASX 200 is testing resistance at 5150 and the descending trendline. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. This is a bear market and respect of resistance is likely to warn of another decline. Penetration of the descending trendline, however, would warn that a bottom is forming. Reversal below 5000 is likely and would warn of another test of 4700, while breach of 4700 would offer a target of 4400*.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 4800 – ( 5200 – 4800 ) = 4400

The Banks Index is also testing its descending trendline. Respect is likely and would warn of another decline. Penetration would again suggest that a bottom is forming.

ASX 300 Banks

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