Durable Goods for April came in above expectations before the market opened, but the S&P 500 opened lower and slipped to its -0.89% intraday a little over 30 minutes later. The remainder of the day was a steady struggle higher with a touch of drama in the final hour of trading. The index closed the day with a modest loss of 0.06%, which tallies to a 1.07% loss for the week. This is the first negative week after five weekly gains.
The real drama last week was on Wednesday, which had the fourth highest intraday range of 2013. Why? Confusion over the Fed's strategy for tapering QE. On Tuesday two of the Fed Presidents made dovish sounds, and Chairman Bernanke's congressional testimony on Wednesday morning was harmoniously dovish. But the post-testimony Q&A sent mixed messages about the odds of near-term tapering, and the 2 PM release of the FOMC minutes added to the confusion.
Here is a 15-minute look at the week.
In case you're wondering about the other three higher intraday ranges so far this year, see the chart below. The first trading session of the year following the disappearance of the Fiscal Cliff saw a 2.54% gain, the same as the range. The second, with a 2.55% range, was a 1.83% selloff on February 25th after the Italian election fiasco. The third, with a 2.36% range, was on April 15, the worst selloff so far in 2013. Factors included weak Chinese GDP, a swan-dive in gold and other commodities, and the Boston Marathon terrorism. The fourth, with an intraday range of 2.32%, was Wednesday's befuddlement over apparent mixed messages from the Fed on the odds of near-term tapering of QE.
Not surprisingly on a relatively eventless day before an extended holiday weekend, volume for the S&P 500 was 25% below its 50-day moving average.
The S&P 500 is now up 15.66% for 2013 and 1.17% below the all-time closing high of May 21.
(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.