The renewed sell-off in equities is the most important market development. The S&P 500 was sold in eight of the past ten sessions for a two-week drop of more than 7%. The threat of a trade war did not spark the decline, but it appeared to provide extra fuel.  

The S&P 500 shed 2% before the weekend, while the NASDAQ dropped 2.4%. This will likely spur losses in Asia and Europe to start the new week, with gap risk likely. The proximity of the end of the month, quarter, and for some, the fiscal year, may keep some who might otherwise be inclined to see the drop as a buying opportunity sidelined. The 2532-2554 area is the next important technical area.It corresponds to the February spike low and the 50-week moving average, and below there is 2478, the 50% retracement of the gains since November 2016 election. The 61.8% retracement is found near 2385.  

The S&P 500 finished the week just above the 200-day moving average (~2585), which had been frayed in last month’s downdraft. The benchmark has not closed below this average since June 2016 when it was trading around 2000.  

Growth stocks lagged on the way up, but they are leading on the way down. The Russell 1000 Value Index fell 5.4% last week following a 5% the previous week. It is off 5.7% year-to-date. The Russell 1000 Growth Index fell 2.1% last week and 4.7% over the past two weeks. It is off just shy of 0.5% so far this year.

The sell-off in equities is weighing on yields. The US 10-year yield poked above 2.93% briefly in the middle of the week before the equity market drag took it back to the lower end of the recent range, a little below 2.80%. The generic 10-year yield has not closed below 2.80% since the early February stock drop. The week began with many investors looking for some signal from the Fed that it intended on delivering four rate hikes this year. The week finished with the January 2019 Fed funds futures strip not quite pricing in three hikes this year (or two more).  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email