Market analysts have been nervous since last Tuesday's meltdown. The "sky is falling" gurus have been preaching correction to anyone who would listen. But the balance of last week's trading was somewhat reassuring - sideways beats going farther down. But the doomsday gurus appeared to be getting their wish this weekend as the futures plunged. The SPX futures this morning were downright ugly and SPX opened at $2329 and traded down as far as $2322 before finding support. Then a steady grind higher began that lasted virtually all day, hitting its high for the day at $2345 just a few minutes before the close at $2342, down two dollars on the day. The 50 day moving average (dma) stands at $2332, so technical analysts will observe that support at the 50 dma held, even though it briefly dipped below support intraday. The other positive piece of data was found in today's trading volume in the S&P 500 companies: 1.9 billion shares with the 50 dma at 2.1 billion shares. The final positive indicator came in VIX, the volatility of the S&P 500. VIX spiked to over 15% this morning, but immediately began its retreat, closing at 12.5% for the day. The trends in volatility and trading volume show that traders didn't panic.
Tomorrow's opening will be crucial to see if the market follows through on today's reversal, but the preponderance of the evidence seems to point to the bulls retaining control of this market.
The Russell 200 Index (RUT) displayed a similar trading pattern to SPX, opening weak, hitting a low at $1335, but then recovering at close at $1357, up three dollars on the day. This close for RUT places it squarely within the sideways trading channel of the past four months.
Looking forward this week, the only significant economic data scheduled to report is the final estimate of fourth quarter GDP on Thursday. Unless there is a big revision downward, that report isn't likely to move the market; we already know last year's growth was anemic. Maybe the risk to the bulls is in the political realm, but predicting Washington political moves makes predicting market tops and bottoms look easy.