The stock market health indicators are in poor shape, yet recent trades, mainly in commodity-related stocks, are working. Therefore, I’m continuing to deploy a limited amount of capital, about 20% of the account, to long swing trades. Quality trades are in short supply in this environment. Over the last month or so, I have seen about 1 quality trade per week materialize from my watchlist (examples near bottom of article).
A new stock watchlist and some recent trades are discussed below.
How the Market Indexes Are Doing
I look at 4 different US indexes because they each tell a different story about overall stock market health. The stock market is healthiest, and swing trading stocks on the long side is most profitable, when all these indexes are in uptrends.
I have also started including 2 Canadian stock indexes for those in Canada.
Charts are provided by TradingView – the charts I personally use.
All 4 US indices are in downtrends right now, making lower swing highs and lower swing lows in price.
Interestingly, the Russell 2000, which focuses on small-cap stocks just barely made a new swing low on Feb. 24 and is quickly moving back toward the recent high. If that downtrend can start turning in small caps, it’s a good sign that the risk appetite of investors is returning. That is yet to be seen though.
The Canadian TSX Composite Index recently made a higher swing low, but is basically moving sideways since mid-Oct. Choppy, not ideal, but at least it isn’t in a downtrend. This index is dominated by commodity-related stocks, which have fared better recently than most other sectors.
Jan. 31 was a follow-through day. It’s often the first potential signal of a bottom, but it isn’t always accurate. That’s why I use the other measures below to confirm the signal. None of them confirmed.
The S&P 500 made a new low on Feb. 24. That is Day 1 of the count, and a new follow-through day is needed (see article linked below for more on this) to signal a potential turn to the upside.
State of the Market Health Indicators
The following chart shows the market health indicators I track. They tell me the condition of the stock market overall, and whether it is a good time to be swing trading individual stocks.
All combined, these indicators are weak, indicating conditions are not ideal for initiating long swing trades.
- 40% of S&P 500 stocks are above their 50-day moving average. 39% of all US stocks are above their 50-day moving average. It is generally much easier to swing trade profitably (on the long side) when more stocks are above their 50-day average. When this is below 50%, it tends to be sideways or downtrends for most stocks/indexes. We are below the 50%.
- Volume is not important at this exact moment. Between day 4 and 10 of this rally I will want to see the S&P 500 move up at least 1.25% on higher volume than the prior day. Until then, I don’t really care about volume.
- The blue bars are the daily percentage movement of the S&P 500. Big moves are associated with downtrends and turning points. Small values are associated with an uptrend. Values of -2 are a warning sign anytime they occur. We had had many big intraday swings in price. That is representative of downtrending/choppy behaviour.
- The blue line is the cummulative NYSE Advance Decline Line. It is as weak or weaker than the S&P 500, so it is confirming the downtrend currently.
US Swing Trading Stock Watchlist
This a not a buy list. It is stocks I’m watching because they have the potential to form a contraction/triangle pattern. I watch for these stocks to form valid entries based on the strategy.
This strategy and others are covered more in-depth in the Complete Method Stock Swing Trading Course, including how to scan and find trades.
For comparison, I left the prior scan on the right, but in my actual scan, I updated a few things.
Price vs. 52-wk High > 70
200-day > 100
50-day > 90
The rest I left the same. The S&P 500 is just below its 200- and 50-day MAs, so I increased these criteria slightly so I am only seeing stocks that are similar or stronger. The S&P 500 is about 10% off its highs, but some stocks are more volatile. So I’m still giving this a little room, but I want to see stocks within 30% of their highs.
The exact numbers don’t matter too much. If you put 100 or 90 on the 50-day isn’t going to matter too much. As long as you get a few quality trade candidates, that is what matters.
SEAS – earnings recently, worth a watch, not ideal pattern
Canadian Swing Trading Stock Watchlist
I bumped volume up to 100,000. Compared to the prior scan used (graphic) I altered the following criteria:
Price vs. 52-wk High > 70
200-day > 100
50-day > 90
CNQ – recent breakout
ARX – tiny pattern.
PEY – big pattern
Recent breakouts from the prior watchlists:
WTE and CNQ from the prior watchlist broke out of nice consolidations. TGA broke out, but it’s messier with a less clear entry and stop loss point. Not interested in that one.
Here are some others, including one that didn’t work out, SALT, and a couple of others from a little while back and more recently.
What I’m Doing Right Now
I am scanning for stocks to buy that I like the look of. I am willing to deploy some capital…approximately 20% of my account for long swing trades. The rest stays in cash or is used for day trading.
I do enjoy day trading stocks during times like this because it’s possible to grab several percent in a matter of 10 or 20 minutes in stocks that are moving (and many are). I am primarily day trading stocks with recent earnings, but I’m willing to trade any stock with the potential to move significantly, such as those on the Best Stocks for Day Trading list.
To learn more about scanning to find explosive trades, as well as everything else you need to know about swing trading, check out my Complete Method Stock Swing Trading Course.
By Cory Mitchell, CMT
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is personal investment advice, or advice to buy or sell anything. Trading is risky and can result in substantial losses, even more than deposited if using leverage.