As the Fed keeps moving rates up, markets continue to prove a volatile ride. But Jim Cramer says panic is not a strategy. To help find the way forward, he spoke to Carley Garner, the co-founder of DeCarley Trading, and the author of "Higher Probability Commodity Trading," to get her empirical take on the situation.
Garner notes that two weeks ago everyone was exuberant about a potential breakout to the upside. Stocks hit the high end of the range and came right back down. Now we're testing the low-end of that range. If it holds, Garner believes we could get a sustained rebound.
Garner thinks the pessimism is peaking. The CNN Fear & Greed index runs from 0 to 100, with zero representing extreme fear and 100 representing extreme greed. Right now, it's at 6 -- extreme fear -- and that was before the Fed meeting Wednesday. This is the most negative it's been since the market sold off at the beginning of this year and in early 2016. Both of those declines proved temporary.
As Garner sees it, the latest decline is breaking the spirits of complacent bulls, and that's the stuff bottoms are made of.
Meanwhile, the price of oil has stabilized for the moment and long-term treasury yields have pulled back substantially from their highs-the 10-year's fallen from 3.25% down to 2.78% as of today. Those are both positive for the stock market.
Another positive for Garner is the dollar. A strong currency is bad for domestic companies that rely on exports. Garner says the dollar could be rolling over.
She and Cramer looked at the weekly chart of the dollar index futures traded on the Intercontinental Exchange, which measures the value of the dollar against a basket of foreign currencies. Both the Relative Strength Index and the Williams %R oscillator, two important momentum indicators, suggest that the dollar is overbought, or at least overheated, and is due for a pullback. Plus, greenback has been bumping against a ceiling of resistance that's kept a lid on it since last year. Garner thinks a weaker dollar could be on the horizon, giving U.S. based multinationals a real boost.
Seasonal patterns in the S&P 500 are also in bulls' favor, as the S&P tends to rally in late December. That doesn't mean it will happen again, but, all else equal, it's nice if seasonality is on your side.
Garner and Cramer also looked at the daily chart of the S&P 500, technically the S&P 500 E-mini futures, which trade 23 hours a day, including Sunday night. As far as Garner's concerned, the action lately paints a confused picture. The S&P's been trading abruptly between around 2,570 and 2,820. Garner points out that, even at Wednesday's lows, the market's only down 14% from its all-time highs, pretty much in-line with most other corrections seen since the great recession.
Garner says Wednesday's fresh low for the S&P 500 for the year could be a positive development because it likely wiped out many lingering stop loss orders.
A rebound from these levels back above 2,530, the February bottom, could lead to more upside. The Williams %R oscillator and the Relative Strength Index are both in oversold territory, indicating that a bounce is due. If we get that bounce, Garner could see the S&P climbing back to its ceiling of resistance near 2,820. In fact, she could even see the S&P breaking out to new highs sometime in the first quarter of next year.
Cramer and Garner also looked at the longer-term monthly chart of the S&P 500 E-mini futures. For Garner, this chart is a revelation. It suggests that the S&P's been trading in a fairly wide channel ever since the financial crisis, with the floor at 2,325 and the ceiling at around 2,950 or even 3,000. Now that the S&P's fallen below 2,530, she says that 2,325 is the new floor, down another 7% from here. So either stocks bounce Thursday signaling recovery, or they keep falling.
Which way will it go? When you look at the Relative Strength Index and the Williams %R oscillator, these indicators are flashing their most oversold readings since 2007, and that's pretty telling for Garner.
From a technical perspective, Garner believes the recent declines are unremarkable. It can be argued that the stock market's uptrend is intact and as long as the averages hold over their recent floors of support, they'll potentially get back on track sooner or later. Of course, if she's wrong, we could easily see another 7% decline from here, but if the S&P really does pull back to 2,325, Garner says you want to be a buyer, not a seller.