Most U.S. stock ETFs are in negative territory for April despite Thursday’s oversold bounce.

The S&P 500 has gained almost 30% from its last low in October. Consequently, the equities market and stock exchange traded funds may be in for a small correction or at least a pause in their advance, says Standard & Poor’s strategist.

As of April 2, the S&P 500’s high of 1419.04 was 29% above its closing low of 1099.23 on Oct. 3, 2011, writes Sam Stovall, S&P Chief Equity Strategist, in a research note. To put this in perspective, an advance of 24% is the six-month average following any severe correction or mild bear market since 1945. In comparison, over the 12 months following a severe correction, the markets showed an average 32% rise. [S&P Makes Bullish Case for Equity ETFs]

Consequently, Stovall is questioning whether or not the current markets have borrowed from the future.

“If you based your decision on the percentage difference from its 200 day simple moving average, your answer might be ‘yes,'” Stovall wrote in the note.

Since 1999, the mean difference between the S&P 500 and its 200-day moving average was 0.10 – the one standard deviation from the mean placed bands of 9.6% to -9.4%. On March 26, 2012, the spread hit 12.06% over 12-months.

“While not a guarantee of an eventual decline, it has been a fairly reliable indicator, in my opinion, of an eventual digestion of recent gains, or at least a push in its future advance,” Stovall added.

In comparison, the last time the S&P traded at a double-digit percentage above its 200-day averages was on May 10, 2011, which preceded a drop of more than 19%.

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