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Negative Outside Year

An outside pattern is a reversal price pattern that often signals a change in the trend of a price chart. It is depicted on the charts by an engulfing type of pattern. The security’s high and low prices exceed the high and low prices from the prior period’s trading range.


An outside year is a rare pattern. There have only been a half-dozen reversal patterns in the past century. The specific reversal pattern does not often occur, especially for major stock market indexes. When confirmed, this suggests a change in the supply and demand equilibrium.

An outside-year pattern is more meaningful and dependable after well-defined and prolonged uptrends or downtrends. At times, the security and index in question close at the exact high or low for the year. When this occurs, it sends a powerful message of an impending reversal.


The technical analysis discipline is not an exact science. It is part science and art, subject to individual interpretations. The investment discipline applies social scientific study and analysis of financial markets through charts and price actions to help forecast price trends.


In the spirit of discipline, positive or negative outside patterns remain one of the more significant reversal patterns. Yearly reversal patterns are far more influential than monthly reversals and, in turn, daily reversal patterns. That is, the monthly reversals override the weekly, and the weekly reversals trump the daily.

A positive outside year denotes bullish implications. A negative-outside month conveys bearish implications. There is also a third possibility - the security closes the year near the middle of its monthly trading range. Under this scenario, it is neutral as buyers and sellers remain deadlocked. When opposing parties do not exert enough influence to alter the prevailing trend, more time is needed to “break the deadlock.”


At the end of 2022, stock market indexes generated mixed results. A negative outside year developed in SPX. INDU and NYA ended the year near the middle of their yearly ranges, neither confirming negative nor positive-outside year patterns. Interestingly, COMPQ, NDX, MID, and SML show no signs of any outside years.


Let us review the negative outside-year pattern in SPX Index to determine the implications (if any) for 2023 and the next several years.

SPX recorded two previous negative outside years in 1937 and 1973, coinciding with the structural bears of 1929-1949 (Great Depression) and 1966-1982 (Nifty-Fifty bubble/Stagflation). Both of the prior bearish yearly reversal patterns warned of challenging times ahead for stocks.


For instance, the onset of the 1937 negative outside month led to an extensive trading range between 7.5 and 18.5 over the next 12 years before the 1950 breakout ignited the next structural bull (1949-1965). Also, the bearish 1973 negative outside year reversal pattern corresponded to the nifty-fifty blowup and stagflation economic cycle, which ended only after the double dip recession of 1980/1982.


Another negative outside year developed during 2022, soon after two bullish positive-outside years (i.e., 2015 and 2020).


Is this different from the prior scenarios?


Can we expect the 2022 bearish negative outside-year a warning to investors of another challenging period for stocks?


Will SPX enter an extensive trading range between 3,000-3,200 and 5,000- 5,200 over the next several years?


On a positive note, the 10-year moving average (now at 3,125) has been a reliable indicator, providing pivotal support on declines. However, the violation of the 10-year ma has also triggered explosive bear market selloffs, including the brutal -50% bear decline during 1973-1974 and the equally devastating -57.7% bear decline during 2008-2009.


The 30-year moving average (now at 1,812) has also been uncanny, stopping bear market declines. For example, during the 1973-1974 bear, SPX found critical long-term support along the 30-year moving average. Again, during the 2007-2009 selloff, the global financial crisis/great recession ended soon after SPX successfully tested and rebounded from the 30-year moving average.


Will a clear breakdown below the 10-year moving average warn of a retest of the 30-year moving average (1,812)?


Long-term support also resides near the May 2013 structural breakout (above 1,576), which ended the 2000-2013 structural trading range trend and the start of the 2013-present structural bull.


Source: Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com


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