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.

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September 12th, 2012

Fundamentals Trumped Technicals in XHB; Avoid Mistake in XLF

I could kick myself.  I allowed what people said was the fundamental realty get in the way of clear contrary picture in the charts and it cost me a bundle.  Not real dollars but only an “opportunity cost” for not having put my money to work there; but it hurt almost as much regardless.  I’m talking about the near perfect bottom reversal patterns that most home builders were building over the past three years and from which most broke out during the first quarter.

At the end of 2010, the home ownership affordability index (the number of Americans who could afford purchasing a home) was nearly the highest ever recorded.  According to a February 2011 RISMedia report:

“Nationwide housing affordability during the fourth quarter of 2010 rose to its highest level in the 20 years since it has been measured, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) data. The HOI indicated that 73.9% of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. The record-setting index for the fourth quarter surpassed the previous high of 72.5% set during the first quarter of 2009 and marked the eighth consecutive quarter that the index has been above 70%. Until 2009, the HOI rarely topped 65% and never reached 70%.”

And yet, most of the talking heads and business media throughout 2011 and 2012 continued to look at home prices and sales statistics and wonder whether and when housing would hit bottom.  For example, USNews on April 26 reported:

Is the housing market in good shape or is it retreating back into recession territory? That’s the question on many observers’ minds as they try to sift through several reports this week that gave a somewhat murky picture of the state of the housing market…..Just this week, the widely followed Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that values continued to erode in many metropolitan areas, with prices falling to a near-decade low nationally. Several cities registered new post-crisis lows on the index, further evidence that the “housing market bottom” remains elusive.Sales of new homes also disappointed this week, dropping more than 7 percent in March after a healthy gain in February. Overall, sales are still way short of the 700,000 or so units experts consider evidence of a “healthy” housing market.

So I continued to be leery of the home building stocks even though I’d been following and writing about them for some time.  Way back in May 2011 I called homebuilders and financial stocks the economy’s missing fourth wheel 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.”  I reposted that blog in January 2012 saying “If those groups [homebuilders and financials] start advancing this time, the rest of the market may not be much far behind.”

I must confess I was scared off by the various fundamentalist-based talking heads who kept looking at the trees (i.e., home prices and sales statistics) and therefore couldn’t see the forest (gaining momentum in homebuilding stocks).  I should have stuck with the charts and jumped on the unbelievable, steady move in homebuilding stocks which are up 45% this year, about the most of any industry group:

Last month I wrote that money flow is beginning to be “directed into financial stocks gives hope that, absent a new major crisis (although our own Federal debt and budget debate is still looming on the horizon), the market will be able finally to continue to the previous all-time highs and ultimately break the grips of the 12- going on 13-year secular bear market.  A cross of the XLF above 16 will trigger for me the another clear indication that financials will begin leading the market higher.”  I can report that XLF is making progress in its base-building and edging closer to the breakout level:

I missed out on that very clear-cut opportunity but don’t plan to miss the new one in the financials.

 

August 21st, 2012

Stock Market Recover Sidetracked by European Sovereign Debt Crisis

I think one of my most prescient posts was entitled Housing and Finance: Two Superimposed Crises and Bear Markets of September 17, 2010, almost exactly two years ago and just before the last mid-term elections.  The market had already bottomed the previous March and were breaking above what I saw as an inverted head-and-shoulder interim bottom.  As noted in the post,  there appeared to be the beginnings of a bottom in the housing market due to once-in-a-lifetime affordability.

Specifically, I envisioned the market being victimized for the first time in history by two economic crises: financial crisis hitting banks and other financial enterprises plus the housing crisis hitting consumers.  I suggested that before the market can advance to new highs, both these industry groups would have to bottom and begin moving higher.  The keystone of that post was the following chart on which I attempted to visually superimpose the impact of those two crises on the stock market:

Here we are, two years later, with the market having ground 24.6% higher from 1126 to 1420 today.  I wrote then:

The reason the market appears to be bottoming again (the inverted head and shoulders) may perhaps be that housing is beginning to bottom and turn also. The number of foreclosures continues to rise (although at a lesser rate than last year) and the improved affordability index (historic low mortgage interest rates and closeout prices of houses) has not yet stimulated a pickup in the housing sales turnover. But a pickup may be around the corner [triggered by an up-tick in interest rates?]. Without a turnaround in housing, the stock market recovery will be short-lived.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have sufficient courage to invest in homebuilders and missed out on the Industry Group with one of the biggest moves over the past twelve months, Homebuilders, at 75%:

We thought our Financial Crisis had been contained by the Fed’s first round of Quantitative Easing and that banks would begin their recovery however the effort was sidetracked because of the European Sovereign Debt Crisis beginning towards the end of 2009.  The recovery in the stocks of the country’s larger banks began to falter towards the beginning of 2010 and only now has begun to show signs of renewed life:

The “herd’s” big money flow again beginning to be directed into financial stocks gives hope that, absent a new major crisis (although our own Federal debt and budget debate is still looming on the horizon), the market will be able finally to continue to the previous all-time highs and ultimately break the grips of the 12- going on 13-year secular bear market.  A cross of the XLF above 16 will trigger for me the another clear indication that financials will begin leading the market higher.

It’s been a long, frustrating two years.  We’re facing another national election, this one even more important than the last.  Continuing to look at all the negative news continues to make our investment lives feel dismal.  Seeing the possibilities of some positive news for a change opens the mind to a totally different stock market future than the one we have become accustomed to.  I may be nothing more than an incurable optimist but that’s the best way to remain committed to the stock market and, ultimately, long-term financial well-being.

February 16th, 2012

Parallel trendlines for positioning targets

There are those who follow Bob Prechter, one of the strong proponents of the Elliott Wave principles have their ways of identifying price level targets.  And then there’s the crowd who hide out at Slope of Hope, the place where perma-bears can always find a reason for an impending correction or “much welcomed” bear market crash through targets derived by their overly precise application of arcane Fibonacci mathematics.  But I’ve always found a rather simple approach to projecting out potential targets by applying a resistance trendline parallel to the corresponding supporting trendline and thereby creating a channel.

Take for example XHB, the homebuilders ETF.First, you should note how reversal and consolidation patterns easily morph from one form to another without a general market tailwind.  Until last summer’s meltdown due to the domestic budget and European sovereign debt crises, it looked as if XHB would break out the upside of a symmetrical triangle.  Since last summer’s 30% decline, it now appears that pattern has morphed into an ascending triangle and, with cooperation of a more constructive general market backdrop and expectations for finally an improved housing market, that upside breakout might now be at hand.

If break out does materialize, the next question is what might be a reasonable target for the move higher?  Consider a parallel line as on benchmark:

Parallel lines are simplistic and anything but elegant but they usually work.  They definite position a target for one’s expectations.  They won’t let your dreams run wildly out of control and add a time dimension to a price expectations.

Reality never really works so perfectly but, if the market and XHB dramatically diverges from this trajectory then we can make mid-course adjustments when and to the degree necessary.

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February 4th, 2012

FAST: Two Views from the Heart and the Mind

I’m always intrigued by those who go to lengthy extremes when comparing the Fundamental and Technical approaches to analyzing stocks.  For me it’s rather simple; I consider the Fundamental approach as the one using the heart while the Technical approach uses the head.  Fundamentalists point to their belief and their feelings about such factors as future earning results, growth rates and valuation multiples.  Technicians point to actual historical trading results and project those results into the future assuming all conditions remaining constant.

A  perfect example was a recent post by Chuck Carnevale entitled “Fastenal (FAST): A Vivid Case of Overvaluation. Carnevale’s case is that

“From 1994 to 2008 the Fastenal Company grew earnings from $.6 a share in 1994 to $.95 a share by 2008, resulting in a 23.7% compound annual growth rate. The normal PE line depicts a trimmed (the highest PE and the lowest PE trimmed) average PE ratio of 36.3, this simply indicates that the market has often priced this company at a peg ratio in excess of one. On the other hand, it is clear from the picture that the stock price often moved above and below the normal PE, and in many cases traded at its orange earnings justified valuation line…

 

…since calendar year 2010, Fastenal Company has grown earnings at the average rate of 33.9% per annum. This accelerated earnings growth should be considered as coming off of the low base which was created by the recession of 2008. Furthermore, we believe this accelerated earnings growth greatly attributes to the company’s current abnormally high PE ratio of 37.8. In other words, the market is valuing this company very optimistically..

 

…assuming that the estimates from the various analysts are within reason correct, then we would argue that this high-quality company, with no debt on its balance sheet, and a great record of earnings growth, is nevertheless very expensive today. We believe this is also apparent in the context of the fact that there are numerous other companies with similar operating histories, and dividend yields that are trading at PE ratios one-half to one-third of what is currently being awarded to Fastenal Company. “

Carnevale includes a number of tables and charts depicting the relationship between the earnings and sales growth with the stocks price history from 1994 to 2017 … yes 2017 to make his case.

As an individual investor, I like to keep things simple.  Why pay good money for expensive services to give me all sorts of information about individual companies and their stocks without talking about market conditions or the rotation of the big money into various industry groups?  It would be better to make my own decision using basic and readily available charts like this one on FAST:

An unequivocal ascending channel since 1994 with parallel trendlines and, yes, FAST is approaching the upper trendline.  If the stock continues to rise at its current rate then, after another 16% move higher, it will touch the upper boundary at around 56.  A slower ascent will allow a slightly higher touch point.  My conclusion is that one can get another 16% gain before the “overvaluation” becomes an issue.

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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.

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May 19th, 2011

Homebuilders and Financials: The Economy’s and Market’s Missing Wheel

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 Markets I 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.

September 16th, 2010

Housing and Finance: Two Superimposed Crises and Bear Markets

My first post on the positive aspects of the mid-term election year cycle was way back on January 28 when I wrote:

I usually focus on what the charts say without paying too much attention to statistical stuff like this but there may be something to the impact of politics on the market this year. I contend that there hasn’t been a mid-term election in quite some time with as significant a financial impact as the one this coming November.

As the campaign truly heats up after Labor Day, the issues and sides will become clearer. It will become even more evident that one party rule (Democratic) may end with the market breathing a sigh of relief. For the bull market to resume, there won’t be a better time than when it becomes clear that

  • Congress can make a new stab at economic stimulus, one that’s more favorable to business (i.e., shifting the focus from leading through punitive taxes to investment and business tax reductions and incentives),
  • Congress can begin a real attempt at reducing the deficit through true spending cuts rather than tax increases and
  • Obama will moderate his vision of change, out of necessity, to be more evolutionary than revolutionary.

So here we are, the elections are 47 calendar (32 trading) days away and market psychology seems to have turned around 90 degrees (still waiting for the last 90 degrees to make it a full 180 degree reversal … but that will have to wait until the neckline is broken). Cramer has turned bullish and so have the folks at Fisher Investments; welcome to the party.

It’s still early but the market seems to be behaving and acting according to script, just like we’d hoped. For the fourth day in a row we’re again bouncing just under the neckline identified early in August:

It’s taken a lot longer to get here but at least there were never any major surprises in the actions of the market or the background news and noise to cause us to waiver off our course. With the shift in sentiment that seems to be taking place, it certainly points to the market being able to clear the neckline this time [probably next week] making the price objective at 1150-64 certainly seems attainable.

What’s helped us get to this point without totally losing our mind, courage or our mood is that we had a plan, a map, to follow. Now that we’re here and about to cross into some uncharted waters it’s time to begin thinking about the next objective and about what is needed to help us get there. Hopefully, it’s not premature but here are the next challenges and logical next price objective:

I like to think in terms of images and the above 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). Yes, I know that one led to the other and one wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the first.

The deep 2008-09 crash could be directly linked to the meltdown of the financial system. That seems to have eased and been corrected. But the recession brought on by a yet broken housing market still lingers and needs fixing. For example, the unemployment rate in the construction industry is around 20%, substantially higher than and contributing significantly to that overall 9.6% (or whatever the true number is). When you add all the second derivative jobs (retail building supplies, real estate sales, furniture and appliance sales and manufacturing, etc.) the impact of the dismal housing market seems to be the major obstacle to consumer confidence, economic recovery and ultimately the stock market.

The reason the market appears to be bottoming again (the inverted head and shoulders) may perhaps be that housing is beginning to bottom and turn also. The number of foreclosures continues to rise (although at a lesser rate than last year) and the improved affordability index (historic low mortgage interest rates and closeout prices of houses) has not yet stimulated a pickup in the housing sales turnover. But a pickup may be around the corner [triggered by an up-tick in interest rates?]. Without a turnaround in housing, the stock market recovery will be short-lived.

Assuming this analysis to be correct, I see the next price objective somewhere between 1220 and 1164. The upper range is a horizontal trendline that connects the April peak with a host of past resistance and support in the same way as does 1164. Those two levels conveniently represent a new “trading range” that we’re probably going to be reading and hearing a lot about next year.

October 1st, 2008

Toll Bros. and REITs; both hardly suffered a nick.

Some of you are probably saying, “Guru, what were you on when you wrote yesterday S&P 500 1040? Today’s gain was the largest since 2002!”

Ho-hum, I’m not impressed. Volume was low, the market is still technically weak (advance/decline ratio, new highs/new lows, relative strength, etc.). Today’s action represented nothing more than a bounce after getting trounced yesterday.

When you look around it seems the world has turned upside down. The $US was supposed to go into the toilet as a result of all liquidity pumped into the economy but instead it’s improved 12% against the Euro in less than two months. Oil was headed to $150 and soon $200, today it’s around $100. Gold and silver, the hard commodity hedges against a drop in the $US are down by up to 38%. The place to put your money are companies due to increasing softness in the economic was in stocks with large foreign exposure; the word today is that economies around the world are in worse shape than ours. What happened to the BRIC countries, their demand for steel, copper, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, elevators and cranes …. poof, they’re gone.

No wonder it’s nearly impossible making a buck in this market. You think you have it figured out but by next week not only has the rules changed, the game has changed and it’s moved to another field.

Even so, we continue the process of searching out the early movers, the “leaders” after the market bottoms. Making money the beginning of the life cycle of a new bull market is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Nearly every stock has been decimated by the Bear Market, cash on the sidelines (like yours) is pouring into the market and prices are being marked up to more “normal” valuations.

I want to point you to two previous suggestions that continue to look valid and appealing (note charts are dated as of the previous post):

Both these suggestions have performed extremely well even while the market has declined 13-16%. Each time there is a bounce in the market as we saw today and may continue to see for the next few trading sessions, both these suggestions notch a little higher. And during the trouncing we had yesterday, they hardly suffered a nick. Keep your eye on these.

September 11th, 2008

Toll Bros. (TOL) and Homebuilders Revisted

Market’s really testing that neckline. Today’s low kissed the trendline before bouncing for a 1.4% gain. Sounds like a lot but the closing value of 1249.05 does nothing but confirm that, so far, the support has held.

I always seem to be ahead of the curve (maybe that’s were I am when I’m calling for a penetration of the neckline and a move to 1150 first and then to 920 on the S&P 500) but check out TOL (Toll Bros.). I first mentioned it on March 21 in “As the Market Bottoms, Toll Bros. (TOL)” when I wrote:

“So, in my opinion, the market is still signaling too much risk to begin buying aggressively. Having said that, last Saturday, I wrote that the Homebuilders Industry Group appeared surprisingly to be moving up in ranking and therefore a fertile area for the new market leaders. The Group was ranked is ranked 7th this week. Stocks in the group have held up relatively well since the middle of last year as the credit crises blossomed (true, these stocks are down 50-70% from their all-time highs). Toll Bros. (TOL) chart, a past Industry leader, demonstrates how the stocks performance has recently out-performed the averages and is forming a potential bottom.”

The stock has increased 8.4% since that close (vs. a 6.05% decline in the Index). Not a bad pick … wish I’d followed my advice and bought some.

But the key point is the reference to the home builders moving up in IBD’s Industry Group rankings. When you look at this past weekend rankings (see “Industry Groups on the Move“), homebuilders are no where in sight. In fact, the Industry Group has dropped to 87th rank. The take away from this example is that moving up in ranking in a horizontal market (a market with lots of rotation), doesn’t mean a sustained move up. You still have to look at the charts of the individual stocks and catch them as they make their moves out bases or consolidations.