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Global Stock Markets Technicals Dangerous

Stock-Markets / Global Stock Markets Jul 03, 2008 - 10:28 AM GMT

By: Prieur_du_Plessis

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleWhite knuckles and shaky knees abound as the bear's growl grows louder.

While on the road in Switzerland (where even the gnomes are gloomy), I have put together a table of global stock markets' performance – over various measurement periods and in both local currency and US dollar terms. The numbers speak for themselves and can best be summarized in a single sentence: “Nowhere to hide.” The Wall Street “leash effect” remained paramount, and decoupling nothing more than a theoretical myth.


The terrible performance during June, with especially the previously high-flying Chinese and Indian markets bearing the brunt of the selling pressure, was well-covered in the financial media.

Notwithstanding the poor showing in June, the second quarter was not all that bad as shown by the fairly flat performance of both the MSCI World Index ( 2.5%) and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (-1.6%). Some indices such as the Nasdaq Composite Index (+0.6%) and the Russell 2000 Index (+2.2%) managed positive returns, but it was the Russian Trading System (+12.9%) the Brazilian Bovespa Index (+6.6%) and the Japanese Nikkei 225 Average (+7.6) that showed the rest a clean pair of heels.

The year-to-date performances (i.e. first six months of 2008) were all negative by double digits, with the exception of the Russell 2000 Index (-8.9%). But the really interesting figures were those since the respective bourses' bull market highs. These numbers show the vast majority of stock markets to have entered bear markets, at least as far as the somewhat arbitrary “official” definition of a decline in excess of 20% is concerned.

As a result of the slide of the US dollar over the different measurement periods, the performance of those stock markets where the local currency strengthened against the greenback (pretty much all markets) obviously look better once expressed in US dollar terms (see second table).

A tradeable rally is probably not too far off, but the primary trend of most global stock markets remains down. Trying to squeeze out a few basis points from a bounce could turn out to be a high-risk strategy, particularly as long as the oil spike persists, causing sentiment and other overbought/oversold indicators to become even more oversold before a meaningful rally manifests itself.

“Stock market technicals are so horrid that one should not attempt to play for a rally even though stocks are extremely oversold. In a bear market an extremely oversold condition with horrid and degenerating fundamentals creates the conditions for an abnormal storm – hint, hint, hint,” said Bill King ( The King Report ). “Numerous pundits and analysts have been calling for a market bottom for weeks if not months due to sentiment readings. They don't understand the environment now is far different than a couple years ago.”

In short, this is a DANGEROUS market in which to try to pre-empt short-term movements. In the words of Doris Day: “The future's not ours, to see, Que Sera, Sera.”

 

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By Dr Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis is an investment professional with 25 years' experience in investment research and portfolio management.

More than 1200 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns (including his blog, Investment Postcards from Cape Town : www.investmentpostcards.com ). He has also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment.

Prieur is chairman and principal shareholder of South African-based Plexus Asset Management , which he founded in 1995. The group conducts investment management, investment consulting, private equity and real estate activities in South Africa and other African countries.

Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin , Dallas-based author of the popular Thoughts from the Frontline newsletter, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index™ methodology in the Pan-African area.

Prieur is 53 years old and live with his wife, television producer and presenter Isabel Verwey, and two children in Cape Town , South Africa . His leisure activities include long-distance running, traveling, reading and motor-cycling.

Copyright © 2008 by Prieur du Plessis - All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilizing methods believed reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Do your own due diligence.

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