Are Charts of Financial Planners Buying and Selling an Indication of Market Direction?

Most people know that financial planners or broker-dealers are not likely to be churning their clients like wire houses, so this means that their trades would indicate a better trend of market dynamics then the day-to-day fluctuations in the market caused by program trading or straight stock brokers at wire houses. There are many charts that technical traders watch that help them see trends in the market, the question is; are charts of financial planner’s trades of buying and selling a decent indicator of future trends in market direction?

One technical analyst who writes a column for one of the major newspapers in the financial sections states: “The theory behind using this indicator is that people tend to be bullish after they buy, and bearish when they sell.”

Thus, if the financial planners are making lots of “buy-trades” they are bullish and tend to recommend a bullish outlook or perhaps call a buy-signal for their clients. Whereas, when making “sell-trades” they are telling their clients that the market is weak and thus, not telling them to buy yet?

Yes, perfectly logical or one could say “During the time they buy or sell,” and for a short duration afterward. Yet, I take issue with this because many investment advisors during let’s say December will be selling their junk to take the tax losses to save on income tax for their clients. And they plan on replacing these sales into better upside bets for the potential uptick, into solid companies or into safety.

Therefore, if they are selling for tax losses, then re-invest that money in another category, are they really “Bearish” during that period? I say, NO. If this is the case, then the financial planners will be both buying and selling in the same couple of days as they reposition portfolios.

So, your chart of this will have changes, but those changes will not indicate much of anything, and cannot be used as an adequate predictor of monthly, or quarterly trends in the overall market, and I am sure there are other cases which will cause this chart to give false readings.

Indeed, whereas I agree with this as a valuable chart, I also realize that there are other scenarios that play out during December each year as investment advisors protect their investors from tax hits. Now then, if we use such charts in a “cafĂ©” of charts to look at trends in the market for technical analysis of when to buy at the bottom or sell at the top, it is of value. But investor beware, there is a lot more to this game than just looking at one type of chart. [read; “The Black Swam” for instance].

Well, we all know that the market and the economy are not the same and yes, it is a lot about perception, trust, confidence, and fear. Along with technical analysis, mathematics, policy, politics, currency, interest, regulations, taxes, etc.. I guess, it does make sense to study a little psychology and philosophy along with it all. I’d warn both technical analysts and day-traders not to over educate yourselves; so perhaps all this is worthy of some more thinking?

If you are seeking advice on financial matters please contact a licensed Financial Planner. I am not in the Securities Industry, have no licenses and am not a reliable source of information. I only call it how I see it.