In last week’s Money and Markets column I told you the majority of my indicators are signaling that the stock market has probably entered the last phase of its medium-term uptrend, which began in March 2009.
I went over price-to-earnings ratios (based on twelve-months trailing GAAP earnings) and dividend yields. Both metrics are showing a heavily overvalued market.
Today I want to add that “normalized earnings,” which try to even out the impact of the ups and downs in the business cycle, are strongly supporting this message.
Plus, I’d like to give you updates on what I discussed last week and tell you about one more important signal …
Sentiment Indicators Still Euphoric
I reported that mutual fund cash level was an excessively low 3.5 percent in February. Now the March figure is in, and it’s the same as February’s! The only other time we’ve seen fund managers holding such a low level of cash was in the summer of 2007, a short three months before a major stock market high.
|The percentage of bullish advisors is dangerously high, and it’s still rising!|
Next, I want to give you the latest readings of Investors Intelligence Advisory Sentiment …
The bullish contingent stands at 53.3 percent, up from 51.1 percent just a week ago. Whereas bearish advisors are down to a very low 17.4 percent, well below the 20 percent threshold typically indicating at least short-term danger for the stock market.
Even more bothersome is the most recent ratio of bullish to bearish financial newsletters, currently at 3.06, as shown in the second panel of the chart below. Last week it was 2.7.
This tells us that the short-to medium-term upside potential is very limited.
Then I discussed how equity put-call ratios had fallen to levels not seen since 2000, the year of the famous NASDAQ top, when the dot com bubble burst.
Well, as you can see in the second panel of the following chart this ratio is still hovering around that extremely low level. The 10-day average is currently at 0.46, up a meager 0.01 from last week.
And the 10-day average of the total CBOE put-call ratio, the third panel of the chart, is still a very low 0.77. Last week’s small market correction did nothing to dampen option speculators’ willingness to bet on further rising stock prices.
What’s more …
Liquidity Has Dried Up Globally
There still seems to be a lot of talking about the huge liquidity driving this market higher. And yes, the Fed’s answer to the housing and banking crisis was a historical wave of liquidity with M-2 money supply growth rates of more than 10 percent. But take a look at the chart below to see what has happened since.
Year over year M-2 growth has stalled … growing by a mere 2 percent. That’s a far cry from a huge wave of liquidity. It’s better described as a trickle.
And if you take a global view, the picture is even getting worse!
The so called excess liquidity of the G7 nations, measured as M-1 minus industrial production minus consumer price inflation, has actually declined by 5 percent during the first quarter of the year.
If this global stock market rally was driven by liquidity — and I really think it was — the drying up of global liquidity should be seen as a clear warning sign.
The bull move, which in my opinion was a huge bear market rally that started in March 2009, is already on borrowed time. And I expect the market to top out during the coming months.
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