ETFs pegged to the S&P 500 continue to creep higher within a rising channel but technical analysts would like to see small-cap stocks begin to show more leadership rather than trail the market.

SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) rose 4.1% for the month ended July 27, versus a 2.4% gain for the small-cap iShares Russell 2000 (NYSEArca: IWM), according to Morningstar.

Small-cap ETFs are more volatile and tend to outperform large-cap funds when investors are taking more risk in the market.

Last week’s rally, however, carried the small-cap fund above the 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

Andrew Nyquist at See It Market views $80 a share as a key resistance level for IWM.

If the broader markets are going to power to new highs, the bulls will want to see the IWM sustain a move above the $80 mark first, Nyquist wrote.

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