The S&P 500 turned nervous today. Why? Probably the selloff in the Eurozone combined with second thoughts about the missing assurance of more QE in yesterday's FOMC minutes. The index plummeted at the open and hit an interim low in the early afternoon, down 1.36%. The selling moderated in the afternoon, and the index closed with a loss of 1.02%. That puts it below the 1,400 level after seven sessions north of that psychological boundary. If this synopsis seems a bit grim, remember that the index is up 11.24% year to date.
From an intermediate perspective, the S&P 500 is 106.8% above the March 2009 closing low and 10.6% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.
Below are two charts of the index, with and without the 50 and 200-day moving averages.
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.
These charts are not intended as a forecast but rather as a way to study the current market in relation to historic market cycles.