Will BDI Rollover Precede Correction in SP 500?

Aug 31, 2009: 9:00 AM CST

There’s been some chatter on the recent down-turn in the Baltic Dry Index, which has been a rough leader of the S&P 500 at key turning points.  Let’s take a look at the recent relationship between the two indexes and what the current BDI Index is showing.

The Baltic Dry vs S&P 500 over the last few months:

The Baltic Dry Index is a poll of what it costs to ship goods overseas, and can be a leading indicator of economic activity and thus stock market performance.  See the Wikipedia Page on the BDI for specific information.

The main point is that the BDI (red and black line – scaled to the right in thousands) ‘bottomed’ in December 2008 which was roughly 3 months ahead of the March 2009 stock market bottom.

The BDI topped or “paused” (consolidated) in March as the US Stock Market bottomed which ‘led’ the consolidation (pause) in the stock market from May until July – another three month lead.

The BDI then bottomed in April 2009, which preceded the ‘bottom’ of the downswing/consolidation period that ended in the S&P 500 in July with the failed “Head and Shoulders” pattern – a three month lead.

Finally, the BDI ‘topped’ and began retracing starting in early June 2009, and if we add three months to June, we have an S&P 500 equivalent of early September 2009 for a potential top and beginning of a retracement back down in the S&P 500.

IF the theory is correct, then we should expect to see a top in early September and a stock market retracement possibly beginning very soon.

The current Baltic Dry Index:

Remember, the BDI is more closely tied to economic conditions and commodity prices than the S&P 500, but there is a logical positive inter-correlation of commodities and the S&P 500 (take a look at how crude oil and the S&P 500 roughly move in the same direction – up or down).

It’s an interesting correlation, and potential strong warning signal for the S&P 500, but remember that correlations are not perfect, and we always deal in probabilities for market forecasts.

Still, it’s something to keep in mind for the week ahead as we begin September afresh.

Corey Rosenbloom, CMT
Afraid to Trade.com

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Will BDI Rollover Precede Correction in SP 500?”

  1. mjmcnally Says:

    Corey: SPX and Oil ($WTIC) (oil has to be shipped), seem to be following the trajectory of the Dow Jones US Marine Transport Index ($DJUSMT) more than the $BDI. I don't understand the radical difference in the movement of BDI v the DJUSMT. Thanks for your GREAT blogs. MJ

  2. aviat72 Says:

    http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=$BDI&p=D&yr=3&

    The correlation between the Shangai Index and Baltic Dry is quite strong. And unlike the SPX, there does not seem to be much lag time between the tops and bottoms of these two indices.

    This makes sense since a lot of bulk shipping heads to China and the fortunes of the Chinese economy are captured well by the index.

    I did notice the double top in the $BDI while $SSEC had started correcting in early 2008. I guess that was due to the Oil bubble in the first half of 2008. $SSEC tracked the original drop in the $BDI quite well, but did not participate in the subsequent rebound and double top in the $BDI.

  3. aviat72 Says:

    http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=$BDI&p=D&yr=3&

    The correlation between the Shangai Index and Baltic Dry is quite strong. And unlike the SPX, there does not seem to be much lag time between the tops and bottoms of these two indices.

    This makes sense since a lot of bulk shipping heads to China and the fortunes of the Chinese economy are captured well by the index.

    I did notice the double top in the $BDI while $SSEC had started correcting in early 2008. I guess that was due to the Oil bubble in the first half of 2008. $SSEC tracked the original drop in the $BDI quite well, but did not participate in the subsequent rebound and double top in the $BDI.