One Chart Reveals The Sector Rotation In The Stock Market

In case you are still wondering what’s happening in the stock market since November 2021, the chart below will give you a clear picture.

Based on the ratio chart IVW/IVE where IVW is S&P 500 Growth ETF and IVE is S&P 500 Value ETF, it can be observed that the price peaked in mid of November 2021 followed by a lower high and lower low and had a sharp selloff in the first week of January in 2022.

As shown the price action of the above chart, the growth stocks started to underperform the value stocks in December 2021 (since it formed a lower high and a lower low) and the scenario is getting worse as reflected in the selloff last week.

Another thing to pay attention to is the increasing of the volume during the correction as this suggested urgent selling by the institutional investors. Nuances of the price and volume are to be studied via volume spread analysis in order to detect the subtle difference between institutional selling versus a normal pullback.

Effect of Fed’s Tapering to the Stock Market

This is In line with the Federal Reserve’s announcement of reducing the monthly bond buying program back in November 2021 because lots of leading growth stocks like Sea (SE), Shopify (SHOP), Upstart (UPST), Zscaler (ZS), Bill.com (BILL) started a steep correction since mid of November 2021.

There are tell-tale signs behind the sharp decline of the growth stocks, which you can refer to the post on the deterioration of the stock market breadth to find out how to judge the overall health in the stock market.

As the growth stocks are very sensitive and vulnerable to credit tightening environment, it is not surprised to see them kick start the correction especially given their rich valuation in 2021.

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Sector Rotation to Energy, Finance and Consumer Sectors

While the sector rotation is on-going with the growth stocks being abandoned, cyclical and defensive sectors like Energy (XLE), Finance (XLF) and Consumer (XLP) are breaking all-time high, as shown in the chart below:

Consumer staple (XLP) sector is traditionally a defensive sector. So, it is not surprised to have money flows in upon a market correction or a technology sector selloff. The cyclical sectors like the energy and finance are bucking the trend of the market thanks to the Santa Claus rally in crude oil and the expectation of rising interest rate macro environment, with at least 2-3 rate hikes coming in 2022 as guided by Fed.

S&P 500 Price Prediction

S&P 500 futures (ES) broke below the critical support at 4710 on 5 Jan 2022 and subsequently it failed to rally back above, which is a bearish sign for more weakness ahead. Should S&P 500 break below 4660, lower price targets at 4600 and 4500 could be expected. Refer to the chart below:

Since S&P 500 is vulnerable for a correction, if you are keen for a long trade, it is essential to carefully select the stocks within these outperforming sectors (XLP, XLE, XLF) with the best entry setup and high reward to risk ratio. Stop loss is essential for trading in case the trade setup fail due to the market weakness. Else shorting weak stocks like those in the ARKK ETF could be a better choice.

META: Specifically for Metaverse Exposure but Not Yet Convincing

After Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook to Meta Platforms (FB), the metaverse has suddenly become a hot topic with search interest on Google Trends peaking at a value of 100, signifying immense popularity. However, there is currently no universally accepted definition of the metaverse apart from some key words like “virtual reality”, or “advanced Internet”. Learning from Blockchain’s world where there are already metaverse projects like Sandbox where land can be exchanged against payments of millions of dollars, it could be defined as a virtual universe with a functional economy.

Of course, this definition is not straightforward and to be frank, no one knows exactly what shape the metaverse will take. But, for investors willing to invest hard-earned money in ETFs like the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (META), it is important to understand which sectors are most likely to benefit. Some use cases are already being proposed such as attending a virtual concert, taking an online trip or creating digital art in the form of blockchain-powered NFTs or Nun Fungible Tokens.

Now, these applications will require a lot of computing power due to increased utilization of artificial intelligence and augmented reality (“AR”). At the same time, for communication purposes, there will be requirement for next generation Wi-Fi and 5G. Roundhill Investments does list some sectors like Compute, Networking, Virtual platforms, Interchange standards, etc from where they choose companies to be included in their fund, but for illustration purposes, I provide a chart which I recently used it in an article on VanEck Semiconductor ETF (SMH).

Description: https://responsive.fxempire.com/v7/_fxempire_/2021/12/word-image-274.png?func=cover&q=70&width=436

Source: Chart prepared by author using data from IEEE Spectrum and augmented to highlight metaverse demand

This chart basically shows semiconductor revenues per sector (with most coming from computing at 34.5%), but, since I have highlighted the technologies needed to build the metaverse, I use it to explore how META’s holdings fit the “meta” investment rationale.

The META rationale

First, META tracks the Ball Metaverse Index, the first index designed to track the performance of the metaverse.

Second, the ETF’s main holding is NVDIA (NVDA) at 8.34% of total assets, also happens to constitute a significant chunk of SMH’s basket. Now, as a designer of graphics processing units for the gaming and Bitcoin markets, this chip play whose products are vital for computing should be one of the main beneficiaries as a building block for everyone’s “virtual space”. Additionally, NVDIA is a system-on-a-chip unit’s provider for the mobile computing and the automotive industry.

Third, there is FB itself, and with more than 2.9 billion users as at the third quarter of 2021, and its success as a highly addictive social networking brand, there is no doubt that it will profoundly change our lives by rendering more virtual than ever, helped by a Covid-induced restriction in physical interactions.

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2021/12/26/49663886-16405745860315373.png

Source: RoundHill Investments

As for software plays like Microsoft (MSFT), Autodesk (ADSK), Unity Software (U), the metaverse is already proving to be a game-changer for working from home due to Covid. Continuing along the same thought process, instead of seeing their colleagues on a video call screen, employees could join them in a virtual office. Here, one of the main benefits of the metaverse is believed to be “presence,” meaning the feeling of physically engaging places and characters instead of looking at them through a laptop or smartphone screen.

Coming to Apple (AAPL), it has one of the world’s largest AR platforms with hundreds of millions of AR‑enabled devices, as well as thousands of related apps on the App Store. Now, one of the essential building blocks of the metaverse is interoperability whereby users must be able to move throughout the metaverse, while effortlessly make the transition to the physical world. For this purpose, they need AR devices which are supported by Apple’s iPhones. There is also an analyst forecasting that Apple’s “mixed reality headset will come out in the late 2022 or early 2023”, with the Apple Glasses to follow in 2025.

Apple should also benefit through its gaming division just like Roblox (RBLX), an online game platform which allows users to play games created by other users. In a metaverse scenario, one can envisage players retaining their avatar while hopping from one game to another or even a virtual shop for purchasing purposes, regardless of the brand of the user’s device.

After painting an enthralling picture of META, I now address some pain points.

META’s shortcomings

Since the concept of metaverse is relatively new, there will be many use cases that will arise in the future, but the space is also likely to be under intense regulatory scrutiny as lawmakers become wary of the power of big techs at extending their control on our social lives to a further degree through virtual reality. Governments may for example restrict the number of hours we can spend in the metaverse just like China is restraining the number of hours children can play games. Furthermore, Apple with its IOS operating system is only a part of the global smartphone ecosystem and it will have to be a metaverse which also encapsulates the Android operating system by Google (GOOG) with its brand of AR. META certainly includes the Android play, but only at a paltry 1.71% of holdings.

Pursuing further, META does include pioneers in content, commerce, and social for the metaverse, such as Sea (SE), Amazon (AMZN) and Snap (SNAP), and I also noted that it includes web infrastructure companies like CloudFlare (NET). On the other hand, I noted the absence of wireless plays from its portfolio. Also, the fund managers do not mention Industrial 4.0 applications, namely 3D printing which is crucial to allow transition from the virtual to the physical world.

Looking for further support from the share performance side, despite all these hot talks about the metaverse and META having already crossed the $900 million in total assets under management within six months, it managed to produce a meager 2.59% gain during this time. This is dwarfed by SMH or even the Technology Select SPDR ETF (XLK), with both these two funds producing above 17% gains in the same time period.

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2021/12/26/49663886-16405745860053453.png

Source: tradingview.com

This calls for a dose of realism.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that META is an innovative ETF with its index consisting of a tiered weight portfolio of globally-listed companies who are actively involved in the metaverse, but this whole concept is still new and rapidly evolving. I also like the fact that Roundhill Investments have also included companies like Block (SQ) and Electronics Art (EA), thus showing their perfect understanding of the Blockchain side of things.

Still, I am not convinced as to the percentage of asset held for each stock. Now, as an actively managed fund charging 0.75% in fees, the portfolio is likely to see rapid changes, but at this stage, it is preferable to wait. Finally, those who want early metaverse exposure, both SMH and XLK can be considered as proxy ETFs for this purpose, and come at lower expense ratios of 0.35% and 0.12% respectively.

Disclosure: I am long XLK.

A Divergence Between S&P 500 and the Stock Market Breadth May Signal a Market Top

SPX Daily Chart

Based on the comparison between the Percentage of stocks above 200-Day average and the SPX for the past 10 years, the divergence happened since Feb 2021 as the SPX continue to trend higher, the number of stocks participated in the uptrend is getting lesser, deteriorated from 90% to 42% as of last Friday since Feb 2021.

In fact, many growth stocks such as Affirm Holdings (AFRM), CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD), Fiverr International (FVRR), MercadoLibre (MELI), Sea (SE), Twilio (TWLO), DocuSign (DOCU), Roku (ROKU), PayPal Holdings (PYPL), etc…experienced big drawdowns range from 32%-65% from their all time high.

There are only a handful of outperforming stocks like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Lam Research (LRCX), Broadcom (AVGO), Qualcomm (QCOM), etc… supporting the S&P 500 index.

The divergence between the SPX and the stock market breadth are certainly not a healthy sign for the bull market especially it has been persisting for nearly 10 months. It might only take a few early capitulations from the funds to trigger a broad market sell-off when the market is at the vulnerable point.

It can be noticed from the chart that 50% level is a support. When the percentage of stocks above 200-Day average dropped below 50%, there was a relatively sharp sell-off in SPX, as highlighted in orange color in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2018. The market breadth is often acted as a leading indicator before the damage hits the SPX.

Current Market Outlook on S&P 500

S&P 500 did have a rally after an oversold condition at the support area while there was presence of demand as pointed in last week’s article. Detailed analysis can be found by watching the price volume analysis for the market outlook on YouTube.

As shown in the screenshot on 8 Dec from my private Telegram Group for Mastering Price Action Trading course above, the four US major indices – S&P 500 (SPX), Dow Jones (DJI), Nasdaq (IXIC) and Russell 2000 (RUT) are likely in a consolidation with high volatility to both sides.

It is obvious that there was an increase of supply on the down wave since Black Friday selloff, which is yet to be tested. As S&P 500 approaches the resistance zone at 4700, it could be vulnerable for a correction when the sellers step in to lock in profit or initiate short positions. Should a correction happen, the previous swing low near 4500 is a natural area for buyers to step in for bargain hunting.

It is critical to judge the supply level together with the characteristics of the price action (spread and velocity) to anticipate next move. For a bearish scenario, watch out for a Wyckoff up thrust (false breakout) with increasing supply followed by a break below 4650. For bullish case, S&P 500 needs to commit above the resistance level at 4720.

Based on the market breadth and the Wyckoff phase analysis on SPX, a trading range between 4500-4700 is expected. There could be other headwind ahead such as Fed’s tapering of the bond-buying program and an urgency for interest rate hike, which I will be discussing in my weekly live session on Sunday. Click here to visit TradePrecise.com to get your weekly market insights straight to your inbox for free.