What is the NASDAQ ROC© ?
By Tim McMahon
The NASDAQ Rate of Change (ROC) chart is very helpful in getting the “big picture” view of the stock market quickly. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very applicable to this chart.
Once you understand what it is showing you this chart will easily point out the direction of the NASDAQ stock market and make it easy for you to decide whether you want to be in or out (long or short) of the market. (See Below for Current NASDAQ Analysis)
The NASDAQ Rate of Change (ROC) chart shows the annual rate of return of the NASDAQ market along the left axis and the years since 1990 along the bottom.
Just like our NYSE Rate of Change chart it shows the rate of return not the current price. The nice thing is that it makes it so much easier to see performance. It is just a matter of whether the index is above or below the zero line… the NASDAQ is up, if we are above the zero line… and the NASDAQ is down if we are below.
Of course you want to exit positions while we are in positive territory (with a gain above the line) rather than waiting until you have a loss. We simply exit, sit on the sidelines safely with our money intact and reenter when we get a buy signal.
The red line is the 12 month moving average. As with most moving averages a buy signal is generated as the index crosses above the moving average and a sell signal is generated as the index crosses below the moving average. (See Current Analysis Below)
Another helpful way to use this chart is to look at the slope of the red moving average line. If the slope is down the market is trending down (annual gains are getting smaller) if the slope is up the market is moving up (gains are increasing). And obviously if the line is basically flat the market is not trending at all. It is generating a steady return. If this steady return is positive the market performing well and a nice flat steady return is preferable to a volatile market that may cause you to panic and sell at a loss.
Just because this chart is not moving higher does not mean we should sell. In the period from June 2004 – June 2007 the red moving average line was basically flat, although it had a bit of wiggle, but it was still flat at around 10% rate of return so holding during that period would have produced returns very close to the long term average.
If you are looking for big gains, the best buy signals come from a movement from below the 0% line. This allows you to capture the greatest up move.
The Chart issued a sell signal in October 2007 with the NASDAQ at 2764 subsequently the NASDAQ fell to around 1480. A buy signal was issued at 1796 almost 1000 points below where the sell signal was generated. Last month we added two big red question marks to indicate the similarity of the peaks and wondered if this could be the end of the rally? This month we have a sell signal.
Note: While viewing this chart we must remember that it represents the rate of return we would have earned if we had been holding the entire NASDAQ for the previous 12 months. This can be achieved through the use of an index fund or ETF.
You might also be interested in the correlation between inflation and the stock market ? How does decade inflation and stock market returns compare?
Our chart shows that we are in “whipsaw” territory and returns have been nearing 40% annual returns for the last 4 months (Nov. 35.97%, Dec. 34.67%, Jan. 35.62% and Feb. 35.33%) although it would be wonderful if it could stay there and remain this flat forever this is crazy.For March we saw a slight drop to the 33.37% annual return level.
Current levels are higher than the final blow-off in 2007 (although lower than the peaks in 2004 and 2010 but they were the beginning of the rally peaks and these are end of rally peaks. These levels are unsustainable and have me worried. This month I added two red “?” symbols since the two patterns look eerily similar. The timing period is right for the end of a bull market. NYSE has issued a sell signal and now is not the time to get greedy.
Caution: Watch for the next sell signal. From the first peak sell signal in July of 1996 to the final Sell signal in April of 2000 was roughly 3 ½ years. The time from the first sell signal in April 2004 until the final Sell signal in October 2007 was roughly 3 ½ years. Our first sell signal in June 2010 was 3 years and 9 months ago, meaning that based on time alone we are near the end of this whipsaw period. Because the 2008 crash was worse than normal it is possible the whipsaw period will last a bit longer than normal but “Caution is advised because we are closer to the end of the rally than the beginning.” And the next crossing below the red moving average should be our exit point!
Way back, in November of 2007 the NASDAQ was in the 2700′s and now 6+ years later the NASDAQ is in the 4200′s with a 52.6% gain or about 8.7%/year. At this point the NASDAQ has done a good job of beating the inflation rate. But if you can avoid the downs and be safely in cash and then reenter for the up periods you can do much better. Of course that is the whole purpose of the ROC charts. Looking at more recent history… The NASDAQ started 2011 in the 2700′s once again and fell to the 2300′s by August then rose to the 3000′s level before falling back and then rising to current levels. See our article Stock Trends by Month to see which months typically perform best and which perform worst.
More Market Commentary:
The following video by INO President Adam Hewison gives specific current commentary on a variety of markets including Gold, Silver, the Dow and the Dollar. It is updated Daily at 1:00pm est. Just Click to watch. Mouse-over to find a button to expand to full-screen. Mouse-over full screen to find “shrink” button.
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Presented by 30-year Market Veteran Adam Hewison