NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners is known for his accurate stock market calls and keen insights into the economy, which he shares with RealMoney Pro readers in his daily trading diary.
Last week, Kass wrote about July-through-August market tops and an expected gradual rise in interest rates.
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It Is Not Different This Time
Market tops are nearly always marked by slowing volume, a low in volatility, technical weakness, breadth divergences and a contraction in new highs. Also, July through August is a historically toppy period.
This time may be no different.
- Ever-weakening volume points to a sign of structural market weakness.
- Overall market volatility remains low, but the volatility in individual stocks is expanding -- historically the sign of a coming increase in general market volatility.
- Over time, strengthening breadth is a mainstay of support to markets, but breadth is now weakening. Since early July, the many new highs in the senior averages (DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq) have not been accompanied by new highs in the advance/decline line -- a possible precursor to a lower U.S. stock market.
- Within competing indexes, the overall strength in larger-cap issues (S&P 500 and DJIA) has not been confirmed by the small- and midcap indexes (Russell 2000, etc.). The latter indexes are lagging and experiencing narrowing breadth. Maturing and late-cycle bull markets are often characterized by a rising emphasis on large-cap companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC).
- Despite the recent highs, since July, NYSE 52-week highs have steadily contracted, and the percentage of stocks under its 200-day moving averages now exceeds 30% (up from 16% four weeks ago). Again, late cycles are often characterized by narrowing interest and emphasis on large-cap blue chips.
- As mentioned in last week's column, the July-through-August period often represents cyclical market tops.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.