Horizontal Point and Figure (PnF) analysis offers a method for estimating the potential extent of a move. The dilemma is what to do when the price objective has been met. Should there be an automatic response of reducing position size in the price objective zone? Are there more dynamic strategies to consider? With the Wyckoff Method, we combine ‘tape reading’ skills of the vertical charts with the PnF count objectives. Though we have a dilemma of ‘what to do’ when these two skills converge, what a thrill it is to have all the elements come together in a well conceived campaign.
Semiconductor stocks have been top performers throughout most of 2016 and 2017. Often a strong Semiconductor group performance encourages speculation across the entire stock market and that has certainly been the case in 2017. Preceding the current 21-month uptrend in the Semiconductor ETF (SMH), a Reaccumulation formed and built a Cause for this advance. It seems as though semiconductor stocks always go up, but that Range-Bound Reaccumulation lasted more than 18 months. As a group these stocks were trendless for a year and a half.
A smaller Reaccumulation formed from June until September of 2017. Thereafter the trend resumed and SMH began climbing even faster, rising for 11 of the next 13 weeks (could this be a Climactic conclusion to the advance?). Let’s analyze the Point and Figure (PnF) counts for the large and small Reaccumulation areas and determine how much of the count objective has been spent on this uptrend.
In the prior post, we evaluated Crude Oil which appeared to have completed a Reaccumulation. Natural Gas has a family resemblance to Crude Oil, but seems to be in a slightly different position. Early in 2016 $NATGAS and $WTIC began important rallies that lasted through the year and then entered large trading ranges. Please take a few minutes and compare $WTIC (click here for a link) and the $NATGAS charts below.
Crude Oil lends itself to Wyckoff Analysis and has the capacity to trend for long periods of time. Take some time now and review a case study on the long swings for this important commodity (click here for the study). Note how well the Point and Figure charts have been working at generating accurate price counts. A worthwhile practice is to review the price history of the instruments you are trading and the precision of the PnF counts in these prior swings. From these studies, you can learn the behavioral tendencies of prices and nuances in counting characteristics.
Tesla is proving to be an excellent ongoing case study. We suspect that the Composite Operator (CO) is very active in the electric automobile manufacturer. Please take a few minutes and review two prior posts; ‘The Point and Figure Distribution Paradox’ (click here) and ‘Shorts Find Tesla Shocking’ (click here). In each study, Point and Figure (PnF) analysis lit the way to important turns in the stock. Also, a study of the Reaccumulation area revealed the conclusion of the trading range and the emergence into a new uptrend. PnF counting of Segment 1 of the Reaccumulation generated a target of 339.48 to 377.20. A sharp Phase D/E rally went straight to 386.99 where a high-volume climax stopped the advance. This was a terrific rally from 180 and a classic PnF study.
Recently we studied the NASDAQ Composite ($COMPQ) as it appeared to be on the verge of jumping into an uptrend after building a Cause. Now the $COMPQ is within one box of the minimum PnF count of our prior study ‘$COMPQ Up Close’ (click here). We evaluated two trading counts employing intra-day PnF charts ranging from about 6,730 to 6,912. Last Friday’s price surge puts the $COMPQ at a critical juncture. As prices approach PnF objectives, Mr. Wyckoff would advise to ‘Stop, Look & Listen’ to the market to determine its probable future direction. And not to jump to conclusions about the end of a trend as objectives are being reached. Now that our prior PnF counts are near, let’s revisit the NASDAQ Composite and put a new twist on the analysis.
General Electric (GE) is a venerable old company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It was formed (Thomas Edison was the most famous of its founders) in 1892 and in 1896 it was among the first 12 stocks in the newly formed Dow Jones Industrial Average. Now GE is the last remaining of the original Dow Jones Industrial stocks, and it continues to be among the dominant industrial companies in the world.
XLI, the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (GE is a major component), has been among the sector leaders of the last year. Meanwhile GE has been on a wild ride that has veered significantly from XLI and the Dow Jones Industrial Averages. Let’s focus a Wyckoffian lens on the GE stock chart.
Dear Point and Figure Diary,
As you know, I made an entry into your pages on July 15th of this year (click for a link). At the time, it appeared that two Reaccumulation Point and Figure Counts (PnF) were stacking up. This suggested another rally phase ahead in the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU). I tend to be conservative in my counting, and that was the case then. But, after making this diary entry, in the second half of July additional columns materialized and increased the count objective. This spurred me to reassess the prior (and bigger) count (March to June period). In the PnF below are the updated count objectives and a third Reaccumulation count.
Two strong sectors in September were Materials (XLB) and Industrials (XLI). During the second half of a business cycle expansion these themes typically do well, and that is the case here. The economy has begun to expand at a faster rate. These industries develop pricing power which allows them to raise prices for their goods at a faster rate than the general economy is growing. These companies now have ‘leverage’ in their business models which make them particularly attractive to investors as the economic cycle accelerates.
Let’s have a peak at some interesting sectors. At times, sectors can tip us off to the motives of the market. Sectors and Industry Groups have a general tendency to be either early, coincident or late business cycle beneficiaries. This business expansion has certainly been a long one and it appears to have life left in it. We can often tell where we are in the cycle by which sectors are strong and leading, and also by the sectors that are lagging behind.
The NASDAQ Composite ($COMPQ) has consolidated since early June. Two very prominent Buying Climax peaks arrived, one in June and the next in late July. They are labeled on the vertical chart and the Point and Figure chart. This has slowed the advance of the $COMPQ to a crawl. Meanwhile two well formed Reaccumulation structures have developed. Which generally means they can be evaluated and Point and Figure counts taken.
Currently the NASDAQ Composite has returned to the July 27th BCLX peak. This Resistance level is in force and holding the index back. Provided that it can break out, there are two PnF price objectives that confirm each other. Let’s drill into this recent price structure and see what is going on.
Technical analysis education suffered a great loss with the recent passing of Dr. Henry O. (Hank) Pruden. A consummate educator, in 1976, Hank combined his incredible capacity for inspiring students with his personal passion for Technical Market Analysis. The result was the very first graduate course, at an accredited university, in the study of markets using chart analysis. Dr. Zahn, Dean of the Business School at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, said ‘Let the Market Decide’ when Hank proposed this innovative new graduate course. Hank’s electric teaching style and unique curriculum made this class an instant hit. The classroom would fill up every semester and students would take the class again and again.
In 1987 Hank took a sabbatical, recharged his batteries, and came back stronger than ever. Hank and I collaborated on the creation of a new class based on the Wyckoff Method (which we team taught). Hank then developed an entire Technical Analysis Certification Program. Students could earn a certificate in Technical Market Analysis or take these courses in conjunction with their M.S. degree.
Dr. Pruden was a prolific writer publishing many papers on technical analysis and peak performance in trading. We have linked to a number of his articles here and hope to make more of them available in the future. In 2007, he published his seminal work “The Three Skills of Top Trading” (Wiley). In it we discover Dr. Pruden’s view of the essential qualities of the consistently successful trader. Dr. Pruden designed the curriculum of the courses at GGU to reflect this world view. In his personal development as a complete trader he came to understand that trading success depends on being competent in these three skills of top trading. His goal was to have every GGU graduate be capable in these important skills. And to have every reader of his book be on the path to trading mastery. His mission was to have every student become the complete trader.
Dr. Pruden is one of those rare people who touched the lives of many in a most personal and positive way. To honor his life and commitment to others, let’s step forward and strive to be the very best complete trader possible. Hank believed we were serving others by following our passions and doing our very best work. Hank showed us how to touch the lives of others through the metaphor of trading mastery.
Celebrate Hank’s life by viewing these two videos:
View a brief bio of Dr. Pruden’s life here. This video was shown at the 2013 International Federation of Technical Analysts (IFTA) Annual Conference in San Francisco when Dr. Pruden received the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Pruden’s last appearance was a video presentation at the Best of Wyckoff 2017 conference in August. The title of the talk is: Using P&F Charts to Find the Present Position & Forecast the Probable Future Trend of U.S. Equity Prices: Applications of the “Wyckoff Law of Cause and Effect”. Thank you to Roman Bogomazov at wyckoffanalytics.com for generously making this video available for all to see.