S&P 500 Snapshot: Selling Ahead Of The Brussels Summit

Includes: SPY
by: Doug Short

The S&P 500 sold off at the open, despite the unexpected decline in weekly unemployment claims. All eyes are on Brussels and tomorrow's summit. Predictable enough, the 3 p.m. brought a half-hearted effort to reverse directions, but no dice. The index dropped steadily through the day to a loss of 2.11% at the close. It's back in the red year-to-date, down 1.85%, which is 9.48% below the April 29th interim high. Technicians would probably point to the 200-day moving average as the brick wall of resistance.

From an intermediate perspective, the index is 82.5% above the March 2009 closing low and 21.1% 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.

Click to enlarge charts

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.

For a bit of international flavor, here's a chart series that includes an overlay of the S&P 500, the Dow Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the so-called L-shaped "recovery" of the Nikkei 225. I update these weekly.

These charts are not intended as a forecast but rather as a way to study the current market in relation to historic market cycles.