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The S&P 500 Back in the Upside Down?

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The S&P 500 (Index: SPX) appears to have returned to the upside-down.

That’s the situation that exists when the behavior of stock prices acts contrary to the usual rules that apply to them. In terms of the dividend futures-based model we use to project the future for the S&P 500, we see that change in the value of m, the amplification factor in the model, when it changes from a positive to a negative value.

When that happens, it’s safe to say the market has undergone a regime change, which is a possibility we first raised last week. This week, we’ve accumulated enough data to take a stab at an initial estimate of the new value for m. The latest update to the alternative futures chart shows that change in regime as if it began on 11 May 2021.

In setting the start date for the new market regime, we’re using our previous redzone forecast range as a statistical hypothesis test, which in truth, is really what it is. Extending it slightly forward, we find the level of stock prices has dropped definitively outside its range as of 11 May 2021, which means at least one of the assumptions behind the redzone forecast no longer applies.

Using the newly added data accumulated in the past week allows us to initially estimate a new value of -5 for the amplification factor. At the same time, the data suggests investors have shifted their forward looking focus to 2021-Q4 in setting current day stock prices. Combined with the regime change we just described, these Lévy flight shift would help explain the market’s recent volatility.

It’s very early days for determining these values. We’ll continue testing them behind the scenes.

In the 11+ years since we first developed the dividend futures-based model, we’ve only seen the S&P 500 go into the upside-down once before, when a combination of changes in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies and some extreme speculation on the part of the “Nasdaq Whale” sent it there during the summer of 2020, ending only when the Nasdaq whale exited their speculative trades in September 2020.

At this time, we’re not aware of any similar speculative activity in the markets. Then again, it wasn’t until weeks after the Nasdaq whale started trading that their impact on the markets was traced to their trades. That’s why we keep paying attention to market-moving news as it comes across the wires. Speaking of which, here are the headlines we flagged during the trading week ending on Friday, 21 May 2021.

Monday, 17 May 2021
  • Signs and portents for the U.S. economy:
  • Fed minions not worrying about inflation, see 7% growth:
  • Bigger inflation developing all over:
  • Global shortages developing in China:
  • Wall St ends lower, pulled down by tech stocks
  • Tuesday, 18 May 2021
    • Signs and portents for the U.S. economy:
  • Fed minions focus on jobs comes at cost of inflation:
  • Bigger trouble developing in Eurozone, Japan:
  • Japan’s economy slumps back into decline as COVID-19 hits spending
  • ECB minions thinking about keeping stimulus going:
  • Euro zone inadvertently supported zombie firms, ECB finds
  • Wall Street closes lower on weak telecom stocks despite strong retail earnings
  • Wednesday, 19 May 2021
    • Signs and portents for the U.S. economy:
  • Fed minions becoming concerned with inflation to start talking taper of bond buys; other minions try throwing cold water:
  • Fed’s Bostic says not yet at bar for any QE taper
  • Fed’s Bullard: Expectations of 1 million jobs a month “hyped up,” half a million more realistic
  • Bigger inflation developing all over:
  • Canadian home price gains accelerate in April from prior month -Teranet
  • Euro zone inflation accelerates in April on energy, services
  • Bigger stimulus developing in Japan:
  • ECB minions thinking about keeping stimulus going, see problems from keeping stimulus going:
  • Wall Street closes lower after Fed minutes, crypto fall
  • Thursday, 20 May 2021
    • Signs and portents for the U.S. economy:
  • Fed minions wants to start tapering stimulus bond buys:
  • Bigger inflation developing all over:
  • S&P 500 gains 1% as tech shares rally, Treasury yields fall
  • Friday, 21 May 2021
    • Signs and portents for the U.S. economy:
  • Fed minions out to lower jobs expectations, want to talk about slowing stimulus bond buys:
  • Bigger inflation developing all over:
  • ECB minions addicted to doling out stimulus:
  • U.S. stocks end mixed as Dow recovers on strong economic data
  • What was positive and negative about the past week’s markets and economics news? Be sure to check out Barry Ritholtz’ succinct summary!


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