Reading Between the Lines: Wall Street’s Cautious August Sell Signal Analysis
Exercise Caution”: Wall Street’s Esteemed Bull Hints at Potential Stock Market Sell-Off
A potential storm may be brewing in the stock market, and one of Wall Street’s most respected figures is raising the alarm.
Tom Lee, a renowned strategist from Fundstrat, known for his consistently optimistic outlook even in skeptical times, has issued a rare warning in a recent note. Lee’s typically bullish predictions have rewarded those who heeded his advice, making his current alert all the more significant.
Despite Lee’s overall bullish sentiment for the latter part of the year, he has identified concerning signals that have prompted him to issue a tactical alert of a possible impending sell-off in the coming weeks.
While maintaining vigilance, Lee has underscored the forthcoming importance of the July jobs report and the July Consumer Price Index (CPI). He encourages investors to exercise caution, emphasizing, “We believe investors simply need to be vigilant.” Lee envisions a scenario where an unexpectedly robust jobs report could challenge the prevailing belief that the Federal Reserve has concluded its interest rate hikes. Such a shift in rate hike expectations could potentially unsettle the market.
Amplifying the concern, historical data indicates weaker stock market performance during the months of August and September. Market strategist Ryan Detrick from Carson Group has highlighted this seasonal trend, suggesting that the market might be poised for a modest pullback of approximately 5%.
Adding to the complexities, signs emerge that some Wall Street strategists are following the current market rally, raising year-end price targets for the S&P 500 despite its robust year-to-date gains. This scenario hints at a potential deceleration in stock market momentum.
However, a newly activated technical sell indicator stands out as perhaps the most worrisome factor. Lee has focused on DeMark Analytics’ “13” sell signal, a measure of the percentage of stocks above their 200-day moving average on the New York Stock Exchange. This indicator serves as a gauge of momentum in the stock market. While a higher percentage of stocks above their 200-day moving average is typically favorable, the activation of the “13” signal through DeMark’s proprietary technical indicators implies an imminent reversal in the stock market.
Historically, the past year’s three instances of this signal flashing were followed by significant stock sell-offs: on August 17, the S&P 500 experienced a subsequent 19% decline; on December 1, a drop of 8%; and on February 2, a fall of 9%.
Lee acknowledges the potential for this “topping ’13′” index to signify a broader period of turbulence. While maintaining a watchful stance, he underscores, “But for now, we believe investors simply need to be vigilant.” As Wall Street stands at the brink of potential changes, Lee’s insights emphasize the importance of an adaptable and attentive approach.