February Starts off Poorly – 100% G-Fund continues


Hello Folks

Thanks for the emails, yes I am still here (and always will be….), however I try not to push out email traffic or site updates unless clearly warranted and when something worthwhile needs reporting.   A constant barrage of depressing emails tends to push folks away, so I have held back.  I am trying to allow the New Year to bring something positive to report.  However, we are now into the second month of the year, and February has not started off very well.   The last trading day of January, Jan-29, ended with the Dow positive almost 400 points.   The subsequent high-fives and “we are out of the woods” chanter and applause trickled out of various websites and financial television networks, however one wonders if such chanting is like witchcraft, as the markets reversed lower again.  January TSP fund data reflects that the S-Fund and I-Fund had the worst Year to Date performance.  

My current assessment of things has not changed at all, from my Jan-14 post.

I would like to re-mention that the revolutionary idea (to some) to be in G-Fund to protect your balance is not an idea invented by me, and thus is not something I can trademark, patent, or copyright.   That use of the G-Fund is mentioned by both me (on this website) and on TSP’s own official site, so take a look at my Jan-14 post for additional discussion on that.   “Stay invested” / “keep buying” / “don’t move your money” / “think long term” [what is long term, age 150 years?] is in my opinion a theory pushed out by some money managers (along with their own fancy math and “explanation”) who want your money to stay under their management.  Observe that you will find no such idea anywhere on the official TSP website.   Investment decisions (when I move my funds over to G-Fund, that is a decision) can make or break your retirement.  The Dallas Police and Fire Pension system (a pension plan run by money managers), is suffering bad decisions, what Dallas PD Chief Brown calls:

“….The pension fund is a very serious problem,” he said Tuesday, referring to what Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings calls “the billion-dollar hole” in the middle of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System that pays the city’s retired rescue workers. It’s actually a $1.4-billion-sized hole following years of bad investments and poor management, and the pension fund is in danger of going broke by 2030….”

The importance of good decisions is paramount in regards to our retirement, and each TSP participant should look at himself as their own fund manager, and approach their balance with that mindset.  With that said, lets look at a chart of the SP 500.  Take a look at the horizontal lines I have placed on the chart, our recent overhead resistance and support levels are going to be 1950 (Overhead) and 1870 (Support).


The indexes have witnessed numerous Distribution Days, with the NASDAQ having four (4) days recently.  Four to Six days will typically send the markets into a resumed downtrend.   Interesting to note is that the folks at Investors Business Daily (I am a paid subscriber) proclaimed that a “Follow-Through Day” (FTD) occurred on Jan-26, long story short, this type of day is symbolic of a potential reversal of a downtrend, and such a declaration could result in some people returning to the stock market and investing their money.    As a paid subscriber, and customer, the customer is always right, and I advised them of my discord:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 2.57.34 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-07 at 3.02.22 PM

Note that IBD has an excellent reputation overall, but their recent “market calls” have been questionable.  I don’t hesitate to share my opinion with them, via various means, when I disagree.

The challenges remain the same, Crude Oil, China, and Interest Rates, or sub-challenges derived out of those categories.   It should be noted that the most recent Unemployment Rate data reflects the lowest rate in 8 years, 4.9%.   It is my opinion that the FOMC will continue to raise interest rates this year, and not “push pause on additional hikes” as some on Wall Street desire.   This would invite (especially in an election year) criticism that the FOMC, a purported independent body, to be in bed with Wall Street:  FOMC Chairwoman Yellen is a Presidential nominee, and with the fact that one female candidate from the same party is currently facing allegations of highly paid speeches and her own alleged close ties to Wall Street, long story short, interest rate hikes will continue in 2016.   Plus the “data” supports it, great unemployment numbersalong with recent PCE Inflation data reflecting very slight improvement towards the FOMC target of 2%.   Again, in my opinion, interest rate hikes will continue in 2016.

Regarding China, fund manager and multi-billionaire George Soros made some comments on Bloomberg, on Jan-7, strikingly similar to mine (however my TSP balance is a little smaller than Soros’ accounts…), made on Nov-15:

Soros / Jan-7-2016:

“China has a major adjustment problem,” Soros said. “I would say it amounts to a crisis. When I look at the financial markets there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008.

Pritchard / Nov-15-2015:

“One big worry I have is “China”- my opinion is China today, is what USA was in 2007.  My opinion is the economic situation in China is very similar to our Sub-Prime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009.  In addition to China’s housing situation, their GDP has slowed to 6.9%, which is below the desired 7% rate, the first time it has been below that level since 2009.”

Crude Oil continues to be a challenge, however it is somewhat married to the other challenges.   A slowing economy in China will result in lower oil consumption, and interest rate hikes (in theory) could result in reduced spending and a desire to increase efficiencies by major corporations.  Don’t let “cheap gas” fool you into thinking that airlines, trucking companies, etc suddenly don’t look at fuel expenses.   These sectors will always seek to maximize fuel savings and are constantly seeking new engine technology, and new strategies, in regards to fuel expenses.

So, are we in a recession yet ?   No, however my opinion is the market is a leading, not lagging indicator, of economic conditions.  As discussed on this site before, go to other sources and listen to other trusted financial experts, all whom believe, like I do, that the stock market is indeed a leading indicator, such as Charles SchwabNew York NYU Stern Business School, Chicago Booth School of Business and the American Institute for Economic Research.

It it is possible that in late 2016, our economy could be declared to be entering a recession.  That word, similar to “fire” in the Movie Theater industry, or the word “sink” in the Cruise Ship industry, is a pretty powerful word, folks in political circles and leadership roles in the financial industry will do everything they can to avoid saying that word.   Just keep in mind that the markets don’t lie, and they always lead.  We may hear that word mentioned in late 2016.  With that said, let’s monitor the 1950/1870 levels on the SP 500.  I remain 100% G-Fund until further advised.

Thank you and talk to you soon.   Please continue to share this site with your friends and coworkers.  Thank you !

-Bill Pritchard










Market Update – 1865 Support breached


Hello Everyone

Today, Jan-19, and post-MLK holiday, I was entertained on my drive to work listening to the various business news stations, which celebrated the “triple digit open”  (on the Dow Jones) and the fact that the markets “came back from the holiday, refreshed and ready to rally.”   I say entertained because such talk is indeed entertainment, as the “big open” subsequently went into a decline for most of the remainder of the day, which is reflective of selling/distribution.

It is important to note that the previously discussed support level of 1865 on the SP 500 was breached on Jan-15, when the SP 500 hit 1857.83.  It then recovered slightly but this new 52-week low is lower than any point since October 2014.  See chart:


I am disappointed that the market’s behavior during the day, carried over into the nighttime futures session, with the Dow Jones Futures trading 200 points to the negative as of 10:05 PM CDT on Jan-19.   See graphic:


Why is this happening ?  Again, my crystal ball tends to be unreliable, but most believe that China, Crude Oil, and potential interest rate hikes in 2016 are choking the market.  Note that I discussed my own personal concerns with China and Crude Oil almost one year ago, on this site.   Other business sites, cable news, etc are just now waking up to those issues. 

As can be seen below, Crude Oil is trading at new lows, of $28.79 (a new record low):


The market remains a risky minefield, and I remain 100% G-Fund.

Thank you and talk to you soon…

-Bill Pritchard


Important Market Alert 01-15-2016

Please be advised that Dow Jones Futures, which trade overnight, are trading down (to the negative) almost 400 points as of 8:05 AM Central Time on 01-15-2016.   See chart:


Causal factor behind this is believed to be Crude Oil, which is now at new lows of $29.55:


Today will likely be a challenging day in the markets.   Watch the 1865 support level on SP 500.

I remain 100% G-Fund. 

-Bill Pritchard

2016 downtrend Continues


Hello Everybody

I am disappointed to report that 2016 continues to return poor market action, this is not the way we want the “tone” set for the rest of the year.  I had similar sentiment last year, and in what is an apparent Déjà vu “been here before” post, dated January 7, 2015, the markets started 2015 poorly, and we all know how that worked out for us.  Some may disclaim the “January Barometer”, but it works pretty good in my opinion.

The only difference between then and now, primarily, is that now, we had a recent interest rate hike, and additionally, more hikes are expected this year (2016).  One other difference is the “$50 cheap oil” last January?  Well that oil is now priced at $30 per barrel, or 40% cheaper than the January 2015 price.

Indeed oil is a major concern for the markets, and prices have continued below the $35 level, previously considered by some to be a “support level” or “bottom” prompting many to invest in oil related industries.  I expressed some concern to some friends who wanted to “get in” on “cheap” oil stocks.  “It can’t get any cheaper” etc was often tossed about.  The funny thing about the market is that it’s pretty hard to outsmart, unless catching falling Ginsu Knives with your bare hands is something you like to do.  Flash forward to January 2016, and Crude Oil is trading at $30 a barrel, and even touched sub-$30 on January 12.  Crude Oil was discussed in my December 13, 2015 post, in which I stated:

“….Prices per barrel, need to be $55, for the oil companies to make a profit and yet not result in super expensive gasoline prices for the consumer.  This person felt that prices could continue lower, into the “sub-30’s” for price per barrel.    We are at $35 now…”

So what does all this mumbo-jumbo mean for the TSP Investor ?   Well, the only one I can speak about is me, so it should be no surprise that I remain 100% G-Fund.   I occasionally get emails as to why I state (FAQ #12) that the G-Fund is good place to protect your account from a loss.  “Why do you say that” or “How did you come up with that [lame brained] idea” is sometimes asked.   Well, I hate to break the harsh news to anyone, but I am not the only one who feels that way, the TSP folks themselves say the same thing on their own website.   Lets take a look:

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 8.59.04 PM

So again, yes,  yours truly goes to G-Fund when he sees storm clouds ahead, which is not in disagreement with the doctrine put forth on the TSP home page.  So when a coworker or someone admonishes you for being in G-Fund, please send them to TSP’s own website !

Moving forward, lets talk about the markets.  The Dow Jones and SP 500 (NOTE:  some stocks exist at the same time on both indexes, such as Boeing/BA) have witnessed 50-day and 200-day moving average crossovers to the downside, while the NASDAQ is witnessing an almost-crossover (did not occur yet, but soon).   These crossovers are a pretty reliable “bear market” signal, especially when used in conjunction with volume analysis and backdrop fundamental analysis (interest rate hikes).   Lets take a look at some charts, the 50/200 cross is shown via a red circle:

DOW-01-14-2016-comments NASDAQ-01-14-2016-comments SP-500-01-14-16-comments

The last chart shown is the SP 500, my “go to” index for market analysis, as it contains a mixture of NASDAQ, NYSE, tech, industrial, and other stocks, and (in theory) represents the biggest, healthiest companies in America.   Allow me to post a closer-range shot of the SP 500 index, but for my discussion, please refer to Chart #3 above, and the below charts.


As can be seen, since the beginning of 2016, the index been in a downtrend, on above average volume, reflecting distribution.  Some believe this is the worst calendar year-start, ever, in history.   The chart with the yellow portion above reflects an approximate trend line, indicating that 1950 must be attained before we can even think that this trend has started any attempt to reverse.   Looking at the larger charts, it is apparent that 1865 is a pretty good area to consider “support”, as this is slightly below the August 25, 2015 low of 1867.30, and subsequent close calls to that area.   So again, the areas we need to watch are 1865/Support, and 1950/Trend reversal.   If the index hits 1950, this is by no means a sign the downtrend has stopped, merely a sign that it is trying to regain some life.

The Dow Jones traded higher on Thursday January 14, which feels great and makes nice headlines for cable news networks, however sadly it did not trade higher than the day prior (January 13).   This inability to trade higher than the prior day means by default that the trend is not reversed, no matter how many “points up” the market is that particular day.   To put this into perspective (or maybe muddy the water), Trainee Jones has a PT test next month, and this week, on Monday, he was able to do 100 push ups until exhaustion.   Tuesday he did 80 push ups, Wednesday, he did 60, Thursday he did 40, and on Friday, he does 38, which is much better than expected, but he did not exceed Thursday’s performance and is clearly not on the path to improvement, being far below his Monday performance of 100.  We want Trainee Jones (Or Mr. Dow Jones) to display a definite trend of improvement and recovery, and one-day bursts of good performance do not necessarily represent that the pattern is reversed.

All TSP Stock Funds are all performing poorly, with December data reflecting that S-Fund and I-Fund were the worst performers of all the funds:


In what is sounding like a broken record, some may recall that I went 100% G-Fund in August (I remain 100% G-Fund at the present time), and may remember my remarks in my August 23, 2015 post that

“…..it takes months, not mere days, for a bear market to fully materialize…”

Well folks, August is four months behind us, and what do we have materializing now ?   Who told you first ?  If at all ?  In all likelihood, it was here.

Our challenges right now include cheap oil, continued interest rate hikes, and uncertainties in China/Asia.  Those are the meat and potatoes, headline issues right now, period, end of story.  Be wary of any magazine, website, or reported expert who points you to other issues.  Lets keep an eye on the 1865/1950 levels and see how things play out over the next few weeks.

Thank you for reading and if you find my (opinion-based) posts useful, informative, or otherwise entertaining, please share this site with others.   Talk to you soon…

-Bill Pritchard


Disastrous Start so Far


Hello Folks

Clearly things have not started well this new year.  I actually want to discuss and post more than I can right now, I will attempt to do that over the weekend.  Long story short, increased selling (distribution) is coming into the indexes and markets are (in all of my indicators and analysis) headed further lower.   I remain 100% G-Fund.  Note:  Jan 07 (Thursday) market action is potentially going to be very bloody, as tonight, China markets have suspended trading due to volatility concerns and “Circuit Breakers” being activated in their computerized systems.  I have mentioned on this site previously my concerns with Chinese economic data (they self-report, no outside verification) and their Chinese version of the US Housing Bubble.  I even labeled China my “big worry” in regards to things affecting the market, in my November 15, 2015 post.

I stated:

“….In addition, me, personally, I have other concerns about the market.   One big worry I have is “China”– my opinion is China today, is what USA was in 2007.  My opinion is the economic situation in China is very similar to our Sub-Prime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009.  In addition to China’s housing situation, their GDP has slowed to 6.9%, which is below the desired 7% rate, the first time it has been below that level since 2009. 

Chinese authorities have cut Chinese interest rates numerous times, and this has had little, if any, positive impact on their economy.  So we have numerous data sources which reflect that China is slowing down.  With that said, like the SARS Virus, a flu in the Chinese markets can (and will) infect the rest of the world.”

In my November 5, 2015 post, I discussed my concerns with the integrity of Chinese data and economic reports:

“…Numerous things continue to challenge the markets, some of which are:

  • Difficult to verify economic reports from China, a Communist country, reflecting a slowing Chinese economy.  Some believe that if the data could be fully vetted, the data would be much worse….”

Next update, more detailed, in the next couple of days.  I remain 100% G-Fund.

Thank You

-Bill Pritchard


Final Market comments and Happy New Year Message

Guys, I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR.   Lets all be safe and make good decisions as we celebrate the closure of the year and the beginning of the New Year.   I would like to post some final market comments before we all go off the grid for the next couple of days.

2015 was a challenging and difficult year, for all.  You and I, are not alone in our frustrations.   It is not just me, a TSP participant and “non Wall Streeter” who had struggles, finally going to G-Fund back in August.  Bloomberg Business had a segment regarding 2015’s market struggles, please take a look:

With that said, lets take a quick flash-back to my first post of 2015, dated January 7, 2015.  In that post, I commented:

“….The first trading day of January is symbolic as it tends to “set the tone” for things to come.    Then on Monday, January 5, arguably the first trading day “operationally speaking”, due to the New Year’s weekend now past, witnessed the Dow Jones closing down 330 points.  Then Tuesday, January 6, the Dow Jones closed down 130 points.

While I am the first guy in a crowd to try to look for the positive when surrounded by bad news, I admit there just isn’t anything positive so far this new year from a market standpoint….”

Flash back to today, December 31, 2015, and we have the Dow Jones Index (the same index discussed in my January 7, 2014 post) has had its first annual loss since 2008.

Today the Dow traded lower by 178 points.  While volumes during the holidays are indeed light, I would have sure preferred a flat close or a close of just a few points positive versus losing 178 points on the last trading day of the year.  The Dow Jones is joined in poor 2015 performance by the SP 500 index, also going negative for the year.  In fairness, many Dow Components are also components of the SP 500, but the bigger point is that these indexes represent (in theory) the largest, most financially stable companies that trade on the stock exchanges.  The NASDAQ is positive for the year, but note that some of the larger NASDAQ components aka Apple, NetFlix, and Amazon, on their own, had great individual performances, thus giving some updraft to the overall index.

Note that historically the year before a Presidential election year (that means now, 2015) is typically bullish, or up.   This year it was not.  See Table:

four-year-presidential-cycle-average-annual-stock-market-gains-08122015-lgIt is obvious that 2015 is not up 10%, not anywhere close, we are negative for the year (aside from some NASDAQ stocks).

The positive to all this is that a Presidential Election, no matter what party or candidate, typically will kick a Bull Market off as it is a “catalyst” event.  So lets keep our fingers crossed on that.   Besides an election, 2016 is expected to see multiple additional interest rate hikes.

At this point, my TSP balance is safely tucked into bed, resting under the warm blanket called the G-Fund.   Interesting to note is that the G-Fund was the only positive fund in December, per the home page on GovExec website.  The official TSP home page does not show December returns yet, however per GovExec, the worst performing (non-Lifecycle) December funds were the S-Fund and I-Fund.  While some may snicker at my admitted conservative approach, positive returns are always better than negative returns.   There is no economic theory, business school analysis, or magic investing formula, that will refute that.   None.

I remain 100% G-Fund.   Happy New Year to all and lets make 2016 another great year for subscriber growth.   If my site has caused piqued interest in your own TSP performance, triggered an elevated interest in the stock markets, or caused a heightened monitoring of your finances, that is great.   If someone else, a colleague or coworker, would benefit in a similar manner, please share my site with them and encourage them to subscribe.   This (free) site is run by a real human (me), a fellow TSP participant with “skin in the game.”   Some of the “other sites” have difficult to identify ownership (who is this dude), unknown bigger intentions (are they trying to sell me something?), and other practices.

Thank you for a great year in subscriber growth and see you in 2016.

Happy New Year everyone

-Bill Pritchard




Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I wanted to wish all the readers and subscribers a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year.

Also, market action remains volatile and volumes are much reduced due to the holiday time period.   With that said, don’t over analyze things until the market action gets back into full swing, which will likely be on Jan-4.

In what has become an often repeated statement every year, my subscriber growth remains very impressive.  Thank you for the emails and positive support, this site has clearly filled a void that existed.  God Bless your friends, families, and this great country called the United States of America.  MERRY CHRISTMAS.

jesus-birth-star-of-bethlehem– Bill Pritchard

Dow Jones down 300 points on Friday Dec-11


Hello Folks

Mere days after my Dec-9 post, regarding deteriorating market conditions, a severe sell off was observed in all the indexes, with the Dow Jones Index shedding 300+ points on Friday Dec-11.

Some may recall that I went 100% G-Fund in August (I remain 100% G-Fund at the present time), and may remember my remarks in my August 23, 2015 post that

it takes months, not mere days, for a bear market to fully materialize

I remain committed to this statement, and flash forward almost four months later, we can see that the attempted rally from early October until early November, has grown weak.   In numerous prior posts, I made reference to the importance of the 2120 level on the SP 500.  This level is recognized by me to be a required trigger, prior to moving money out of the G-Fund.   We can see that 2120 never happened, and by all appearances, will not be happening anytime soon.  As a matter of act, the 2020 level, an important support level, was breached on Friday.   See charts:


This was done on high volume, which means Friday was yet another Distribution Day.   As oft-discussed before, numerous distribution days within a few weeks, in almost all cases, will kill the rally and typically send the trend into Bear market territory.

One causal factor, in addition to the looming interest rate hikes and Chinese economic concerns, is the dropping price of oil.  In my opinion, buying oil investments right now would be akin to trying to catch a falling knife with your bare hands.   Lets look at some charts:


As can be seen, Crude Oil is trading at $35 a barrel.  One advantage that I have, being from West Texas, is access to folks who actually work and pay their mortgage via the oil industry, unlike traders in New York or Chicago watching a computer screen on Wall Street, who probably think a lowboy is a small child, a bobcat is a wild animal, tripping is when you step on your untied shoelace, and mud is what happens to your garden when it rains.   I had one such industry professional at my house for dinner last weekend, who confessed that he was “concerned” about things in the oil industry.   Prices per barrel, need to be $55, for the oil companies to make a profit and yet not result in super expensive gasoline prices for the consumer.  This person felt that prices could continue lower, into the “sub-30’s” for price per barrel.    We are at $35 now.

Regarding interest rate hikes, the FOMC meets this week, on Wednesday Dec-16, will announce their action regarding interest rate hikes.   So let’s keep an eye out for that event.  That is a pretty big deal- in my opinion, timing could not be worse, this meeting will occur just before a major holiday break by Wall Street traders and money managers.  If rates are raised, these folks are going to dump shares, not “hold onto them and monitor things.”   They are going to hit the sell button with both hands, and be “out” of positions so that they can enjoy the holidays worry free.

Again, I remain 100% G-Fund.   I hope everyone has a productive and safe week…talk to you soon.

-Bill Pritchard



Market deterioration Resumes

Hello Folks

I am disappointed to report that the market’s action this week have reflecting additional selling, aka “distribution”, in the indexes, with the “Distribution Day” count now at eight, on the SP 500.  As discussed in my October 14, 2015 post, Five or more days within 20 days can typically send the markets into a new downtrend.  Again, we have had eight.   I am further concerned that these distribution days were on rising volume.  Note that the recent “Dow up triple digit” days, which many high-fived themselves over, happened on low volume, and without volume to fuel the flames, the fire will go out soon thereafter.

The flames are looking dim, at least this week.   Lets look at some charts:


As can be seen above, my oft-mentioned 2120 level was never attained, and this was a very important trigger criteria as part of my decision to leave the G-Fund.  Well, 2120 never happened, and I remain 100% G-Fund.   2020 is the new level I am looking at, which represents a support level, which the SP 500 index touched in mid-November.   If the index breaks below this level, that is an additional negative signal and reflective of a pending Bear market.

What is causing this action ?   Again, I hesitate to guess, and will not bury you in boring data, but 1) China and 2) US interest rates are the big reasons.   Data continues to stream out of China which indicates that their economy is slowing down.   China, with 1.4 billion people, is worthwhile to pay attention to.   Compared to the USA, with 320 million people, China is quadruple the population of USA.  Any recession or slow-down in China will impact other trading partners.

Regarding interest rates, the FOMC has finally started using phraseology to point towards a clear-cut action (whether it be raised, or do nothing, at least we have some clarity).   It appears (and I would not be surprised) that rates will be raised at the December 15-16 meeting.  If not, most likely in early 2016.  What is troubling about a rate-hike in December, is that this is just before the Christmas and New Year holidays, a time when most of Wall Street goes on vacation, not to return until after the New Year.   It could be argued that many money managers on Wall Street (if they are already not easing out of positions…) will hit the “sell” button, no questions asked, if rates are hiked, thus allowing them to go home during the holidays worry free.

Fellow trend follower and billion dollar+ hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, is also exiting positions, likely due to his own belief of an upcoming bear market.   Lets take a look at a video from Bloomberg News, which happens to be a pretty reliable source of financial news by the way:

Apparently I am not only person with a conservative stance.  With that said, lets monitor things and keep an eye on 2020 on the SP 500.  Volume is very important:  no volume, and the fire (either direction) will burn out.   High volume, in any direction, will light things hotter and sustain the flames into that direction.

I remain 100% G-Fund.   Thank you for reading and please mention this site, and forward these emails, to anyone who may benefit.   The only reason I have multi-thousand subscribers, is largely due to word of mouth and the fact that you find value in The Fed Trader website.  Again, thank you.

Talk to you soon….

-Bill Pritchard


Market update and Thanksgiving Day wishes

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  This week’s trading has been rather subdued, due to the holiday and market closure on Thanksgiving Day, and early closure on Friday. With that said, the SP 500 Index has managed to hold onto recent gains yet has been unable to trade higher than the all-important 2120 level.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed for next week’s action, and hope we can go more vertical.

Happy Thanksgiving guys

-Bill Pritchard