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Premarket futures were up Thursday and the weekly unemployment claims weren't bad, so the S&P did rally at the open, hitting its intraday high in the first minute of trading, up 0.15%. But Wednesday's selling immediately resumed and briefly accelerated at 10 AM with a lackluster Philly Fed business outlook and a fractional decline in the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index. Buyers then drove the index back to the opening price shortly before 11 AM, but that level served as a ceiling. A couple selling waves took the index to its intraday low, off 1.03%, shortly before the 3 PM. Final hour trading trimmed the day's loss to 0.67%.

Here is a 10-minute look at the week so far. Thursday's high-low range was the narrowest of the week, which is down 2.97% so far.

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Volume was again above its 50-day moving average but was lower than the other two declines this week. As for yesterday's closing price, it is just a tad below the index's 50-day moving average.

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The S&P 500 is now up 8.09% for 2013 and 3.25% below the all-time closing high of April 11th.

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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: Another Down Day