Market Risk Update: No May Flowers for Stocks

market correctionThe stock market risk is high right now. Maybe you should take a vacation from investing.

As an investor, you should be aware that the six-month period from May to October has been historically the worst-performing months for stocks, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac. And so far, this stock market risk and historical pattern appears to be staying true to form.

The charts continue to be bearish. I said this in March and in April. I had sensed some near-term topping action several weeks back, as the stock market risk intensified after several attempts to move higher failed to be sustainable. For instance, the S&P 500 at 1,400. Moreover, the lack of volume on up days has been a major red herring and stock market risk for the buy side—indicating a lack of mass market interest.

The key stock indices have been devoid of any momentum or signs of sustained buying interest—down in the red over the past five days and month.


And, while stocks continue to hold in positive territory for 2012, the key stock indices are in the red since the end of March below their respective 50-day moving averages. Technology stocks, which fared the best this year, had been up over 18% in March, but have seen gains dwindle down to just over 11% on higher stock market risk. The NASDAQ is down 6.11% since the end of the first quarter, only trailing the 6.27% market correction in the Russell 2000.

The overall Relative Strength is weak, indicating that more weakness may be in the works or the upside gains may be limited, but watch for some oversold buying support. The breach of the 50-day moving average was bearish and points to higher stock market risk. Continued weakness could trigger additional selling and drive the key stock indices to test their respective 200-day moving averages.

The underlying strength as indicated by the advance-decline line for both the NYSE and NASDAQ has been trending lower since the start of May—indicating a loss of momentum. The following chart of the NASDAQ Advance-Decline reflects the weakening position and stock market risk.


Chart courtesy of

The fragility and stock market risk on the charts are deserved in my view.

China and the eurozone remain major areas of stock market risk, which I had previously discussed in Global Market Risk: Is it Improving?

It appears that Greece may fall out of the eurozone and euro, as I have said in my past commentaries. The reality is that Greece is a weak player and it will take decades likely for the country to pull out of its mess. In fact, it could even worsen if the tough austerity programs fail to deliver debt cuts and cost control. Germany, which is fighting its own GDP growth issues, is not interested in funding anymore funds to Greece and clearly wants to focus on its own economy.

And then there’s Spain with its rising bond yields. The 10-year auction showed yields of 6.22%, which are not sustainable for Spain and its troubled debt and muted growth. The high yields are an indication of potential problems down the road.

Italy 10-year bonds are yielding 5.75%.

Note the pattern here?

What about the eroding situation in China? While the new rich Chinese from the mainland flock into Hong Kong and buy expensive goods, China may be a time bomb.

Filings from Wind Information indicate that around 45% of China companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges provided weak forecasts for the first half. In my view, this is a real and valid concern that needs to be monitored.

The warning signs are there as far as the stock market risk, but I hope it’s not the perfect storm!