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Despite strong pre-market Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) earnings and a better-than-expected Durable Goods headline number, the S&P 500 got off to a weak start for the week on Monday. The 10 AM release of pending homes sales, down 4.3%, didn't help matters. But the index battled back to within a hair's breadth of the opening price at midday. The afternoon saw the index dip and recovery to a fractional gain at the beginning of the final hour. But the selling resumed, and the index closed with a fraction loss of 0.18%, breaking its eight-day winning streak. However, the closing level of 1,500.18 kept the index above the 1,500 benchmark.

Here is 5-minute chart of Monday's action.

(click to enlarge)

Here is an hourly chart since the last day of 2012. The 2013 January Effect has been phenomenal, but the 1,500 level is providing a bit of a challenge.

(click to enlarge)

The S&P 500 is now up 5.19% for 2013 and 0.18% below the interim closing high of January 10, 2013.

From a longer-term perspective, the index is 121.7% above the March 2009 closing low and 4.2% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

For a better sense of how these declines figure into a larger historical context, here's a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets in the S&P Composite since 1871.

Source: S&P 500 Snapshot: 8 Day Rally Ends, But 1,500 Holds (Barely)