Green Line Break-outs (GLB), the sine qua non of rocket stocks; $SHOP, $SQ, $BABA, $Z, $FB, $BZUN

The book that changed my trading life was the one listed to the lower right by Nicolas Darvas, How I made $2,000,000….. That book, which I discovered in the 1960’s, taught me to abandon buying stocks that were cheap and trading at new lows and instead to focus on stocks at all-time highs. While this strategy seems counterintuitive, we all want bargains, it makes sense with stocks. We all want to buy a stock that goes to the moon. On its way to the moon it must be gaining altitude and repeatedly hitting new highs. In the appendix to his highly popular book, Darvas answered a question from a reader about whether a stock he bought needed to always be at an all-time high–his reply, no exceptions to this criterion. Another little known Darvas criterion was that a stock must have already doubled in the past year. As with human beings, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

So for many years, I have looked for stocks hitting all-time highs. William O’Neil and David Ryan have both mentioned Darvas’ book as one of the few that influenced them. IBD often departs from the all-time high requirement, however. I depart from Darvas’ strategy too. Darvas bought rising stocks breaking out of trading ranges, or boxes,  defined by daily prices. That approach did not work well for me because it led to a lot of whip-sawing of prices. After studying monthly charts in the 80’s, I noticed that many growth stocks hit a new high on a monthly chart, rested a few months, and then when they broke through their former historic peaks often went on to huge gains.

Hence I invented the concept of the green line break-out (GLB). On a monthly chart I draw a horizontal green line at the historic peak that month after the stock has failed to surpass it for at least 3 months (or 3 bars on a monthly bar chart). In other words, the stock has gone up to a new historic high and then rested/consolidated for 3 consecutive months. I maintain a watch list of stocks with green lines drawn in and program TC2000 to alert me immediately when a stock exceeds that line. I only buy a GLB if it occurs with above average trading volume and the stock must go on to close above the green line. If it closes back below the green line at anytime afterwards, I exit. If it retakes the green line I often buy it back. (I do not worry about wash sales in my tax deferred IRA). Stocks often retrace and retest the green line. Of course I consider other technical and fundamental  characteristics to select which GLB stock I want to purchase. But that is what my students learn over a 14 week semester course. I cannot predict which GLBs will succeed. That is why it is critical to exit if the stock closes back below the green line.

Jesse Livermore wrote that if a recent IPO formed a base and then went on to an all-time high that was a screaming buy. I find that is often true if I can find a GLB for a stock that came public in the past few years, rested, and then broke out. Here are some monthly charts of some examples of GLBs.

It even worked for FB in 2013, which went on to several other GLBs.

Will it work for BZUN?

At the side of this blog post is a list of GLB stocks that have worked out. I do not know the percentage of GLBs that succeed, but they do better if the GMI (General Market Index)  is on a Green signal. I often tweet out possible GLBs intraday, follow me at @WishingWealth

And the GMI is at 2 (of 6) and Green could flash Red with a weak day on Monday. The QQQ is now back below its 10 week average (blue dotted line), an ominous sign. And this break occurred on very high down volume.





How I use Yellowband up and down trends; $FIZZ, $SHOP, $IGT, $JCP, $QQQ

I wrote a few posts ago about a key chart pattern that I noticed in the 1990s, called yellowband. It is a way of staying focused on the longer term trend of a stock. A yellowband up-trend is a stock on a weekly chart that closes repeatedly above its rising 10 week average that in turn is consistently above its rising 30 week average. A yellowband down-trend is simply the reverse. The following charts illustrate yellowband patterns. Some charts show the transition from up to down trends. I discovered the value of the yellowband pattern in the 90s. I primarily buy stocks that are above or near their last green line break-out (GLB) that have a yellowband up-trend. I try not to sell as long as the yellowband is intact unless I see unusually high volume selling or a climax top. A close below the 10 week average is a significant technical signal for me to exit or reduce my position. If I had diligently checked a stock’s yellowband pattern I would not have been shaken out and exited many great stocks too early during the past few years. A picture is still worth 1,000 words….

The QQQ remains in a yellowband up-trend and recently found support at the 10 week average, a good place for me to enter or add to a position..

And the GMI remains Green.

Will post again on Wednesday evening.




$QQQ on precipice, $AAPL violates Yellow Band pattern


The weekly chart below shows the QQQ has, with one small exception in April, not closed a week below its 10 week average (blue dotted line). The 10 week average has in turn been rising well above the 30 week average (red line). This is a strong pattern I have been monitoring since the 90’s when I discovered it and named it the “Yellow Band” pattern. In those days I would draw a band with a yellow highlighter in the empty white space between the 10 and 30 week averages. Hence the name. As long as the QQQ closes this week above the 10 week average (currently 137.57), the bullish pattern will be maintained. This week is a critical week because of the 3 weeks of very heavy down volume, shown by the red volume spikes. Recently, the heavy volume down weeks have overshadowed the volume on up weeks, a possible sign of distribution by the institutions. A bounce up off of the 10 week average would be a very bullish sign to me.

One reason why I think the QQQ may fail is this weekly chart of AAPL, which has already violated its 10 week average on above average volume. Apple’s Yellow Band pattern is over, for now.

The SPY is holding up much better.

The GMI remains at 4 (of 6) and still on a Green signal.





21st day of $QQQ short term up-trend; Market had a “dead cat bounce?”


While the QQQ remains in  short and longer term up-trends, I am dubious very short term because the actions of the daily technical indicators I follow are not consistent with the market’s bounce at the end of last week. During the beginning of the rise in the QQQ that began around April 19 (A) the daily 12.26.9 MACD was rising above its signal line as shown by the histogram’s rising and turning black (B). Similarly, the 10.4 stochastic was rising above its 10.4.4 signal line (C). These 2 short term indicators were strengthening along with the QQQ’s rise. Compare that pattern to  last week’s action. While the QQQ started back up (D) the MACD histogram declined and turned red (E) and the stochastic declined (F). This bearish divergence between the action of the QQQ and these 2 indicators suggests to me that Thursday’s and Friday’s rises in the QQQ may have been the proverbial dead cat bounce and should not yet be trusted. (The DIA and SPY exhibit the same divergence.)  Of course if these indicators reverse up this week, I might jump back on the train.

Meanwhile the GMI is at 5 (of 6) and still on a Green signal.

End of window dressing; day 78 of $QQQ up-trend; turbulence ahead? $PNRA, how to have patience after a GLB; GLB: $FIZZ


I have been writing that strong stocks often rise during the last week of the quarter as mutual funds spruce up their portfolios to look smart in their quarterly reports sent to investors. The indexes sold off on high volume at the end of the day on Friday and I am waiting to see what happens this week now that the quarter is over. The SPY and DIA are weaker then the QQQ and up against some technical resistance.  Also, having passed day U-78 in the current QQQ short term up-trend, we are approaching the longest up-trend since I began recording this in 2006 (at U-88). I therefore would not be surprised to see some short term turbulence this week….

Chart patterns often times mislead us into thinking that obtaining gains is easier than it is. Often times a stock has a major break-out (GLB) only to have it vacillate and consolidate before it takes off. On a chart the consolidation looks small and rapid but in reality it often means that we buyers need to have incredible patience to hold on. The greatest trader, Jesse Livermore, said that it was his sitting tight not his trading that made him big money. When you see on a chart that after the GLB a stock eventually continued its rise you think that patience with the position must have been easy. But in fact holding on in the days and weeks after a break-out is psychologically very difficult because we do not know what the outcome will be. This daily chart of PNRA provides a good example of this situation. After a green line break-out (GLB) to an all time high (ATH) on above average volume PNRA went sideways for about 23 days. Would you have held on through its ups and downs and all of the media pundits’ predictions of a market top during PNRA’s consolidation? It appears so easy to wait only when we can see how the story eventually ended! (Trading is mostly psychology.)

This is one of the reasons why I like the daily RWB strategy that I have been describing lately. It helps me to cut through the daily noise. PNRA remained in a nice RWB pattern after its GLB. It never closed below all of its red lines (RLC never equalled 0). There were 4 days when any daily low (indicated by purple dots) was below all of the red lines and in the white space between the two sets of lines, but PNRA always rebounded to close within the red lines (dotted line tracks the daily close). Hence my preference to use mental stops sometimes and to check my positions around 15 minutes before the close each day. But even a close below all 6 red lines is not necessarily the preferred exit point. Alternatively, I might just reduce my position or wait for a close below at least one blue line. As long as the RWB pattern is in place with any white space between the red and blue lines the stock is in an up-trend. Also, after a GLB, I must sell if the stock closes back below the green break-out line. (When a set-up fails to proceed as expected, I exit.) PNRA never breached its green line……

FIZZ is a perfect example of  the RWB of a stock that never hesitated after its GLB. Note that FIZZ has closed above all of its 12 daily averages for weeks, even before its GLB. No daily low has even occurred in the white space! Its pattern is still a perfect 12/12/6/6.

Had I only traded FIZZ on the day of its GLB or sooner……

The reason I am very skeptical of the health of the overall market is this chart of the SPY. The chart has a 9/6/6 daily pattern which shows that only 9 of the 12 daily averages line up perfectly and SPY closed Friday above the 6 red lines and 6 blue lines. However, the RWB pattern broke down last week and the red lines are back floating just a little above the blue lines. Note the diminished white space between the red and blue lines. Whether this minimal RWB pattern can survive will tell me the likely short term direction of this market. The 12 (12/9/6/6) shows me that all 12 weekly averages line up perfectly on a weekly RWB chart, indicating a strong longer term pattern. The DIA has a similar pattern, not shown. But remember, by definition, the short term trend always turns down before the longer term trend.

Note the stronger RWB pattern in the QQQ (12/12/6/6), reflecting strength in the non-financial and tech stocks contained in the NASDAQ 100 index.

This explains why the GMI, with its  components focusing on the QQQ,  remains at 4 (of 6).






Market rally over? My refined strategy for timing exits and entries; Recent GLB: $LITE


I spent a lot of time over spring break last week reviewing the market and my technical approach. I gained a renewed interest in the value of daily RWB charts.  RWB charts consist of 12 exponential moving averages (see this blog’s glossary for definitions) plus a simple one day average to show the daily close. Daily RWB charts move more quickly than weekly charts and provide possible exit points for stops that are closer to my entry points. Minimizing losses are critical to trading success.

I developed 3 quantitative measures that  help me to characterize a daily RWB chart pattern. The total line count (TLC) is a count of the averages that fall into line with the close and each average higher than the next longer average. A perfect TLC of 12 means that the current price is higher than all the remaining averages that are lined up in order below it. This daily chart shows a TLC=12. The dotted line is the daily close.

The purple dots show each daily low and provide a way of assessing volatility and support for placing stops. The red line count (RLC) counts the number of the 6 red line averages (shorter averages) that the close is above. It goes from 0-6. The blue line count (BLC) counts the number of blue averages that the close is above (0-6). The top line of this chart indicates that CRTO has values of 12/6/6. (TLC/RLC/BLC) which is a perfect score. Note the wide white space between the rising red and blue lines. This is the pattern of a RWB up-trend. I only buy equities that are  in an RWB up-trend.

As a stock starts to weaken, the RLC will quickly decline. A possible first exit or place for me to reduce a position is when the stock closes below all of the red lines and RLC=0,  But as long as the BLC=6 the stock is above the 6 blue lines and the up-tend may continue. If any red line crosses below a blue line the white space has disappeared and I must sell the stock. The stock must stay in an RWB up-trend for me to buy or hold it. If the stock registers 0/0 (RLC/BLC) it is another warning to exit.

My strategy is to own strong up-trending stocks that have recently rested and are now resuming their advance. I look for stocks in an RWB up-trend which have recent oversold indicators. In addition, the RLC must currently be back to 6 (of 6) and leading all 12 averages higher. The TLC must also be at 12, ensuring that it is an RWB pattern and all averages have lined up perfectly. My TC2000 scan finds such stocks by identifying those that have had a lower Bollinger Band bounce or  low stochastics in the last 5 days plus a rising relative strength versus the S&P500.

Two Dow stocks meet these criteria now, MCD and MSFT. I will just show MCD as an example, never as a recommendation. MCD is a 12/6/6 (TLC/RLC/BLC) but had  low stochastics within the last 5 days (not shown). If I bought MCD on Monday, likely around 129,34, my first partial exit could be at the lowest red line (currently 128.39, on second line in above chart). A close below its top blue line (127.45) would be a greater sign of weakness. If a red line declines into the blue lines,  the RWB disappears entirely and I must exit. What I really like about this approach is that my exit/stop points can be quite close to my purchase price. Note that MCD has not closed even once below all of its red lines since late January! The purple dots show a few times where the daily low closed in the white space but the stock always closed back within the red lines. It may therefore be preferable to avoid such whipsaws by employing mental stops and assessing each position for a signal near the close each day.

AAPL has also never closed below its red lines since January, but it has weakened a little to a 11/4/6. For now,  its RWB pattern remains very much intact.

Recent GLB, LITE, has a rebounding  12/6/6 RWB pattern after retesting its green line. My scan would have picked it up lower, below $50.


GS provides an example of how a stock’s up-trend turns into a down-trend. GS is now a 5/0/0.  This method might have gotten me out around 246 when the RWB pattern disappeared, or earlier, around 250, when the white space was first encroached by the daily close. Note also the entry set-up last February when RLC=6 after weakness.


This technique also works well for me to analyze ETFs and market indexes. The current readings for the major indexes are: SPY 6/0/3, DIA 6/0/4 and QQQ 9/1/6. Thus the SPY and DIA have both closed below all of their red lines but are still above 3 or 4 of their blue lines. Their RWB advance is over for now. The QQQ is above 1 red line and all of its blue lines and still has a RWB pattern. Below is SPY and QQQ.


So the QQQ remains in an RWB up-trend pattern, though it has weakened. Note that it closed above all red lines much of the time since February. The SPY (and DIA) are wounded and if  their BLC turns 0, it will suggest at least a likely short term decline. A BWR decline pattern could suggest much more weakness………

Because of its focus heavily on the QQQ, the GMI remains Green. The QQQ short term trend count is U-73, and approaching the longest such up-trend since 2006, which ended at 88 days (U-88). The end of this QQQ short term up-trend is likely imminent, but it is better to react to a technical signal than to try to act in advance.





How I use daily RWB charts to size up the market and individual stocks; run my new scan


For many years I have been  a fan of Stan Weinstein’s Stage Analysis (see his book on this page). That approach looks at a stock’s price compared to its 30 week moving average. A lot of analysts use this technique. My students all know to only buy or hold stocks that are above a rising 30 week average,  or in a Weinstein Stage II. This is one of the six components I assess in my GMI (see table below).

Another approach I like to use is an adaptation of the 12 exponential moving averages that Australian technical analyst Daryl Guppy uses. His GMMA (Guppy multiple moving averages)  plots the following weekly moving averages (six short averages 3,5,8,10,12,15 and 6 longer term averages 30,35,40,45,50,60).

I have developed  a modified chart using the 12 exponential averages plus a simple average =1 which shows the close each period on the chart. The six shorter averages are red and the six longer term averages are blue. The dotted line on the chart is the close each period. The background is always white. The period depends on the time period of the chart shown.

I have been using the weekly charts to show a RWB (red/white/blue) up-trend when the red averages are rising above the rising blue averages such that there is a white space between them. A BWR down-trend is simply the reverse pattern.

I recently came to the conclusion that the weekly chart is good for showing the longer term trend but not very useful for timing entries and exits. It just takes too long for the weekly averages to show a change in trend. I have therefore decided to focus mainly on RWB daily charts. I also added a plot of the new single day average of the daily lows to show the low price of the equity each day (purple dots). These dots can aid in visualizing support and where to place stops.

This daily chart helps me to immediately determine the short term trend. An advancing equity will have a RWB pattern with the daily price (dotted line) above all 12 lines and leading all of the shorter term (red averages) averages higher. I now compute and show on each chart a count of the number of red averages that the equity is above (RLC or red line count). Thus an advancing equity will have a maximum value of 6 of 6. A value of 0 means the equity is below all of the red averages. This is a signal to me for caution. As long as the stock remains in an RWB pattern it is still advancing, but if the RLC is 0 I might raise my stop. I would definitely sell out my position  if the red lines converge with the blue lines so that the white space between them disappears.

It is much easier to demonstrate the above description with an equity. Here is the daily chart of QQQ.


The QQQ has been in an RWB up-trend since last December. There was one day, December 30, when the QQQ closed below its red lines and entered the blue lines. But the RWB pattern never disappeared. For most of the days since then the QQQ (dotted line) closed above all of the red lines. As of Friday, the QQQ closed above only 5 of the 6 red lines. Note the 5 at the end of  the top line of my chart. This is the red line count (RLC). What caught my attention was this daily chart of the SPY.

The RLC=0 for the SPY! While this is not a huge sign of weakness, it is the first time it has happened since January. In those cases the SPY rebounded right away. Will it do so on Monday? The RLC=2  for the DIA and is also showing an RLC rarely seen since this rally began. What really concerned me was this chart of the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

Not only is the RLC=0 but the RWB pattern is totally gone and the DJ-20 has now closed below all of the red and blue averages. This may be significant because one classic way of sizing up the market trend is the Dow Theory, which uses the Industrial and Transportation Indexes. A strong economy and market should show up in strong rails and airlines….

I also find the daily RWB charts very useful for analyzing individual stocks. I use TC2000 to scan for stocks in a steady RWB daily up-trend that have recently been oversold. The RWB chart shows me where I might place my sell stop if I make a purchase. I either want to sell if the stock returns below the lowest rising red line (which will be the 15 day exponential moving average) or if it breaks recent support. I can find these levels easily by looking at the pattern of daily lows (purple dots) or the values of the 15 day exponential average which appears on the second line of each chart in large digits. Here is an example of a stock that came up in my scan for daily RWB stocks that have been oversold and resumed their advance. This is not a recommendation for purchase and is for illustrative purposes only.

AZPN is a strong stock (up 70% this year) that is in an RWB pattern. The RLC=6, indicating that AZPN has closed back above all of its red lines. The value of its lowest red line is 58.51 (second line, big digits after next earnings date) and a conservative place for a sell stop might be just below this level. AZPN has rarely closed below all of its red lines.  However, the purple dots show that the daily lows of AZPN have recently been below all of the red lines. This is to be expected because this scan looks for stocks that were recently oversold (low stochastics). So a more liberal stop might be below its lowest recent daily low, somewhat less than 58. Note also the above average trading volume on Friday’s rise. One thing I do not like about AZPN is its low recent quarterly earnings, up only +9%.

I like this scan a lot. But I suspect that if the averages rest over the next few days, these set-ups will fail. We are approaching the end of first quarter period. Often times there is a brief decline that sets-up end of quarter window dressing by the mutual funds. So I am watching very carefully this week while I am out on spring break.

I ran this scan on my list of stocks that have hit an all-time high since I started informally aggregating them this year. The scan identified  59 stocks. If you want to run this scan, go to my TC2000 Club and access the scan from 03182017. This scan is further described in the glossary to this blog page. Let me know if it works well for you, please.

The GMI is at 5 (of 6)  and the GMI-2 is 6 (of 8), but note that the two negative components in the GMI-2 (stochastics and MACD) are the most sensitive ones and the first to weaken if the QQQ is ending its up-trend. My up-trend count is now U-68, closing in on the longest short term up-trend since 2006 (88 days).