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Is Dow Theory Kicking In?

CAMS Weekly View from the Corner – Week ending 8/7/2020

August 10, 2020

Dow Theory is a long-established view of looking at the overall health of the stock market through the lens of the interaction of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

The gist of the theory is if one of the averages can make an important higher high then the other should follow suit and if both can achieve this type of strength in trend then the overall stock market message is healthy.

In recent weeks we have been observing a potential development along the Dow Theory line as both of the aforementioned averages have been getting more solid in their price performance.

This week we experienced a break higher of an important, previously attained high water mark for the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

Click For Larger View:

The top pane identifies the Industrial Average while the lower pane offers the Transportation Average.

As the red horizontal line depicts in the top pane, the Industrial Average is at a previous important high point that was attained in early June.  This while the red line in the lower pane depicts the Transportation Average has exceeded its early June high mark as of this past week.

In addition, the Transportation Average has achieved this on constructive volume (not depicted) characteristics which adds strength to its message.  Simply, there was good buying power supporting the move.

Will the Industrial Average be able to follow suit? 

This is a focal point now in our market observations as the Transportation Average behavior offers the Industrial Average should be able to do so.  Importantly, if the Industrial Average cannot break higher and trend from this point then the Dow Theory signal will be called into question.

This then would be a market message that perhaps a negative undertow exists and with this a failing Dow Theory signal.

A new high signal is the strongest message

The strongest Dow Theory signal occurs when both are able to break upward into an actual new high level.  This type of strength offers the stock market is healthy and vibrant and is in full gear.  As the chart offers, neither are at their previous high point yet let alone looking to break higher from those levels.

If the Industrial Average is able to break through its recent high point, as identified by the red line, this will confirm the Dow Theory signal strength that the Transportation Average is offering.

At that point then, it will be most interesting to see how these two indices act when/if they both make it to their previous high water marks attained back in the early part of 2020.

We will continue to follow and share accordingly.  If Dow Theory kicks into full gear, via actual new high breakouts further up the charts, then these markets may surprise the masses with upside trends that are completely unexpected.  At this stage though we emphasize the “if” part of that statement.

I wish you well…

Ken Reinhart

Director, Market Research & Portfolio Analysis

Portfolio Manager, CAMS Spectrum Portfolio


H&UP’s is a quick summation of a rating system for SPX9 (abbreviation encompassing 9 Sectors of the S&P 500 with 107 sub-groups within those 9 sectors) that quickly references the percentage that is deemed healthy and higher (H&UP).  This comes from the proprietary “V-NN” ranking system that is composed of 4 ratings which are “V-H-N-or NN”.  A “V” or an “H” is a positive or constructive rank for said sector or sub-group within the sectors.

This commentary is presented only to provide perspectives on investment strategies and opportunities. The material contains opinions of the author, which are subject to markets change without notice. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions which fluctuate. References to specific securities and issuers are for descriptive purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations to purchase or sell such securities. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. PERFORMANCE IS NOT GUARANTEED AND LOSSES CAN OCCUR WITH ANY INVESTMENT STRATEGY.

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