Michael Batnick, our firm’s director of research, goes toe to toe with the Death Cross fixation among traders and the financial media:
On Friday the S&P 500 experienced what is known as a “death cross.” This is when the 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day moving average and as you can guess by the name, is allegedly a negative signal for stocks moving forward.
A lot of work has been done to debunk the myth of the death cross and yet we continue to hear about it whether it’s in an index, a sector or a specific stock. Here are two reasons why it refuses to go away: 1) It sounds ominous, people love that and 2) over the last fifty years, a death cross occurred before each of the ten worst years. Not only did they appear but in eight of those ten years the indicator was quite timely, saving those who listened from further downside.
So if it identified the very worst years, wouldn’t it be foolish to dismiss this as a valid indicator?