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Cyclical Bear within a Structural/Secular Bull

The focus for many investors will soon turn toward the CPI and PPI data next week to gauge what the Fed will do in the next FOMC meeting toward the end of the month.

The Fed Funds futures and current economic numbers suggest the FED will stand pat. The pertinent question remains whether the Fed will signal an end to the tightening cycle.

The stock market is forward-looking. It is a leading indicator and a better proxy of the future state of the economy.

US stocks have an inherent built-in upward bias, at least from a long-term perspective (i.e., decade to several decades). Do not underestimate the power of a structural/secular long-term uptrend.

Nonetheless, there are times when investors need to be defensive, as countertrend moves, or cyclical bears can occur at any time during structural bull trends. But because the stock market is a leading indicator, it will signal a structural shift in market trends many months and quarters before an economic top and bottom.

We understand why the bears are adamant that SPX has peaked at 4,818.62 (Jan 2022). They cite macro-economic conditions (i.e., inflation, higher interest rates, restrictive monetary policies, recession concerns, and aging demographic trends), geopolitical climate (Ukraine-Russia war, China-US trade conflict, BRICS, and the potential for Cold War II), and fundamental basis (equity valuations still high).

The above conditions warn of a challenging market environment for US stocks. Since 1929, rising inflation has been consistent with US bear markets.

However, despite the 27.54% decline in the S&P 500 Index last year (2022), the structural uptrend channel from the 2009 market bottom remains intact (see the monthly chart).

The ability of SPX to find crucial support at 3,491.58 (10/13/22), coinciding with the middle of the 2009 structural uptrend channel and the 50% retracement (3,504) from the 2020-2022 rally, is technically significant. It suggests the Jan-Oct 2022 decline is a cyclical bear decline trading within a structural bull trend. The ability of SPX to record a higher high above the Jan 2022 high (3,818.62) reaffirms the continuation of the May 2013 structural bull.

Nonetheless, the current macroeconomic, geopolitical, and fundamental conditions, narrowed market breadth, and a negative outside year in 2022 warn that SPX will remain choppy, volatile, and trading range bounded over the near-to-intermediate-term.

Note that from mid-2014 to mid-2016 and 2018 to 2020, SPX traded sideways before resuming the 2009 structural uptrend channel.

Does this imply SPX will trade sideways between 4,325 and 4,600 (near-term), 3,400-3,500 and 4,800-4,900 (intermediate-term), and 3,100-3,200 and 5,800-5,900 (long-term)?

Enclosed are yearly, monthly, and daily SPX charts showing the dominant and prevailing trends.

Source: Chart courtesy of

Source: Chart courtesy of

Source: Chart courtesy of

Source: Chart courtesy of

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