On February 11th the market put in a Follow Through Day according to the original IBD definition requiring at least a 1% rise in one of the major indices on rising volume. I mentioned the Follow Through Day and dedicated a few posts to it in mid-February. The S&P is now less than 1% from new highs and very close to hitting a level that that would qualify the current rally as “successful” based on the rules I set up in the original Follow Through Day test a couple of years ago. This would mean the lesser of 1) a new high or 2) a rally twice as large as the distance from the close of the Follow Through Day to the bottom of the downmove. Meanwhile the Russell 2000 is already hitting new highs.
In the last few years IBD has changed their rules and stated that a 1.7% rally on higher volume should be required instead of a 1% rally. Ironically the first major index to actually put in a 1.7% rally on higher volume since the February bottom is the Russell 2000, which did it on Friday – as it was hitting new highs. Not a great bottom call when you’re already at new highs. Over the last few years I’ve suggested ignoring the new rule. In a study I did a little over 2 years ago I showed how waiting for a 1.7% FTD would have missed several rallies. The current instance now serves as yet another example. Not that I a see a huge value in the 1% FTD rule, but it has been at least marginally effective and can be used to set up a positive risk/reward scenario. Additionally, requiring a 1.7% FTD not only puts you at risk of missing the rally but it also hasn’t proven to be any more predictive than the original 1% requirement.