Dow Jones Industrial Average Index
Going back 40+ years the stock market has experienced periods of longer-running bull markets followed by almost as many larger corrections and even a couple of market crashes.
Examining these historic uptrends and corrections a bit closer we can see that in the build-up to every single larger correction there have been warning signs in the form of divergence in the market. Divergence is an indication of an imbalance and can been read from technical indicators such as RSI, MACD and volume. If price is rising under falling traded volume it is a sign of weakness. Similarly, it is a sign of a weakening trend if prices keep rising but the RSI is falling; that is exactly what we have seen in the run-up to market peaks and corrections.
As can be seen from the Dow Jones Industrial Average Equal Weight Index chart there was divergence up until the 1987 crash where Dow Jones lost 40 percent. There was also divergence during the dot com and housing bubbles.
Divergence—or imbalance—can run for a long time but must eventually be “traded out”. That can be done when the RSI drops below the 40 threshold. When that occurs divergence is cancelled—or reset, so to speak. Over the past 2-3 years equity markets around the world have been building up massive divergences. Markets have been moving higher but RSI values have not achieved greater highs.
Granted we have seen larger corrections—most notably in 2020 when the Covid scare hit equities—but even that sell-off was not enough to push the monthly RSI below 40. The bull market that followed has just added to the imbalance in the market, building more divergence. However, now could be the time that divergence will be traded out. The FAANG/TINA (There IS No Alternative if you wanted a return on your money) bull run has run longer than the dot com bull market and has the longest-running divergence in the past 40 years.
The strong bounce on the back of the Covid scare sell-off and continued bull run has reached 1.618 projection (of the Covid scare sell-off mini-crash), and seems to have exhausted. The downtrend is confirmed on both daily and weekly periods, and a monthly close below 32,985 will confirm the longer-term uptrend to be over.
Dow Jones is currently testing 0.236 Fibonacci retracement of the uptrend since the Covid low. Support is not strong around these levels and the Dow Jones could drop to the 0.382 retracement which coincides with the market peak before the Covid scare hit markets, at around 30,000.
However, a drop to 30,000 is not likely to push the RSI below 40—in other words, it won’t unwind the divergence. And it will still be quite far away from its 55 Simple Moving Average (SMA). It is not unlikely the price and the SMA will catch up.
If the Dow Jones closes below the pre-Covid scare peak at 29,568, which is not unlikely, the bear trend could be further fuelled. If that scenario plays out the longer-term rising trend line could be tested with a drop to the 0.618 retracement at around 25,000.
For this likely scenario to be demolished and reversed, the Dow Jones needs to perform at new all-time highs.