January 14th, 2015

Homebuilders Building Foundation For Next Move

ImageSomething I learned long ago is that “industry group controls 30% of a stock’s price movement.”  So a logical place to begin the search for stocks with better than average relative strength but lower than average risk is by narrowing the available universe down to a select few Industry Groups.

One academic research study concluded that “a mutual fund manager’s success in identifying and emphasizing specific industry sectors in their portfolio was a far better forecaster of the fund’s performance than ability to pick individual stocks.”  Although the statistics were compelling on their own, they were even more impressive because the study found that managers with good industry-selection abilities were likely to continue to outperform their peers over many successive periods.

Through our Stocks on the Move scan, we’ve recently noticed that in addition to significant money flowing into REITs pushing their prices higher as discussed previously, the Scan also filtered out a significant percentage of stocks from a related industry group: homebuilders.  The Scan from a few days ago produced the following results:

Stocks on the Move Scan

A quarter of the stocks generated by that scan were REITs, or 13.3% of all REITs (REITs represent 6.3% of all listed stocks).  Homebuilders, on the other hand, represented only 4% of the stocks generated by the scan but those 7 stocks were a quarter of all the homebuilders (homebuilders represent only 0.4% of listed stocks).  Although homebuilders represented a small percentage of the stocks generated by the Scan, more homebuilders met the scan criteria.

One thing you should know about the Homebuilders Industry Group is that among all the groups, homebuilders tend to generate similar chart patterns and consistently move together.  In Chapter 15 of Run with the Herd entitled “Segmenting the Market”, I presented the following data on homebuilders in the periods leading up to and during the Financial Crisis Crash of 2007-09:

Homebuilders

The percentage price moves of all the homebuilders weren’t identical but they were in the same direction and on orders of magnitude similar relative to the average S&P 500 stock.  Over the six years to year-end 2005, the S&P 500 declined 15.0% while homebuilders appreciated anywhere from 404% to 1275%.  From the end of 2005 to the trough of the Financial Crisis, the average S&P 500 stock declined -49.3% while homebuilders lost anywhere from -62.3% of their value to over -90%.

It looks as if we’re facing a similar situation today.  After their huge 100+% recovery off the Financial Crash bottom, most homebuilders have been constructing a consolidation pattern throughout 2013-15.  But now members of the group are showing signs of being ready to exit across to the top of their respective consolidation patterns.  Using a typical “rule-of-thumb”, the percentage move following a consolidation should be approximately the same as the percentage move preceding it.  Using XHB, the ETF for the group, as a proxy that represents a move to approximately 65-70 (click on image to enlarge):

Homebuilders - 20150111

Five homebuilders whose similar charts clearly depict these consolidation patterns are (click on symbols for charts):

However, a word of caution.  If the market turns ugly and does enter what turns out to be a 25-30% correction then these patterns could turn from being consolidations into reversal tops and momentum reversing causing breakouts through the bottom boundaries.  These charts don’t predict … they only indicate that supply and demand has remained fairly balanced for nearly two years and, once it begins, momentum will generate an extended move in either direction.

Fundamentals like low interest rates, increased residential rental rates, increased consumer liquidity and savings from lower gas prices and improved job picture suggest that the breakout, when it does take hold, will be on the upside.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

January 19th, 2012

Revisiting Housing and Banking With a New Ending

There was much conversation today about how the housing and banking industry was leading the market higher ….. which reminded me of a post I made close to a year ago on May 11, 2011 entitled “Homebuilders and Financials: The Economy’s and Market’s Missing Wheel“.  The S&P 500 closed at 1342.08 that day, 2.06% above today’s close of 1314.50.  I concluded that piece by saying

“If you believe that these two sectors will be able to successfully cross their resistance hurdles and begin advancing to levels last seen in 2008 then you should be “all-in” believing the market will continue heading towards the all-time high. If not, stay on the sidelines because rather than riding a car to the top it would be like riding a three-wheeler powered by the rest of the economy including: healthcare, retail, tech & internet, commodities, industrials and consumer non-durables.”

Because of the new more constructive view of housing and banking with the hopes of continued advances for stocks in those groups, I repeat that blog, including those charts, below:

====================================================================

Two Industry Groups stand in the way of further market advances: financials and homebuilders.

Home building industry spokespeople go on CNBC regularly each time of the housing statistics are announced, like monthly sales, financing and refinancing, starts, or permits issued. And the spokespeople each time differentiate between the sales of new homes and resales, especially those that are in foreclosure or underwater; they also attempt to differentiate between national statistics which include negative information from extremely skewed markets like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Florida and the rest of the national housing market.

Discussed less frequently are conditions and prospects for banking, insurance, asset managers and the rest of the financial industry group. Since the bottom in 2009, I have believed the sector was a key to launching a true bull market:

  • On 3/20/09 in Financial Stocks are Laggards I wrote: “It’s often said that financial stocks are the Industry Group that leads the market out of the average Bear Market. In this case, however, the financials not only lead us into the Bear Market but they were the principal cause.
  • On 5/18/09 in XLF (Financial Sector ETF): What Now? I wrote: “XLF seems to be making what looks like the beginning of an inverse head-and-shoulder, a stock pattern that looks similar to the S&P 500 Index pattern….There’s only a one-in-four chance that XLF will be able to cross the resistance at the 13.00 neckline allowing it to move up to 17.00. It’s almost certain that 12-18 months from now XLF will be double what it is today [closed at 12.29 on that day], we just can’t say when.
  • On 6/7/2009 in XLF (Financial Sector ETF) = Market Health I wrote: “…the key to solidifying the market’s turn, to a true change in momentum from bear to bull is financial stocks starting to move up…..The financial sector is tied up with economic health, exchange value of the $US, interest rates and the health of the financial system itself. I’ll rest easier when I see the XLF successfully and with conviction cross above it’s neckline. “
  • On 9/16/10 in Housing and Finance: Two Superimposed Crises and Bear MarketsI wrote: “[The] graph clearly depicts what I see as two coincidental and superimposed Crises the country has faced. We often see them merged into one continuous stream of bad news but, in reality, there was a Financial Crisis (impacting business) that was preceded by Housing Bubble and Bust (impacting consumers).” and inserted the following graph, now updated to last night’s close (click on image to enlarge):

A year later, while the rest of the economy has regained its footing enabling the market to push higher (up nearly 20% since then), those two industry groups are still stuck below significant resistance and unable to breakthrough and push significantly higher:

  • Homebuilders
  • Financials

If you believe that these two sectors will be able to successfully cross their resistance hurdles and begin advancing to levels last seen in 2008 then you should be “all-in” believing the market will continue heading towards the all-time high. If not, stay on the sidelines because rather than riding a car to the top it would be like riding a three-wheeler powered by the rest of the economy including: healthcare, retail, tech & internet, commodities, industrials and consumer non-durables.

===============================================================

If those groups start advancing this time, the rest of the market may not be much far behind.

Technorati Tags: , , ,