Will the third time be the charm for the small-cap iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca: IWM)?

The small-cap fund was recently turned away from a key horizontal resistance line that has triggered sell-offs starting in 2007 and 2011.

“The 850-870 range has become tough resistance for the Russell 2000 index over the past five years. Each time this level was reached and support was taken out, small caps fell in price,” says technical analyst Chris Kimble at Kimble Charting Solutions.

Small-caps stocks have been lagging the S&P 500 since mid-September.

IWM is also trailing large-cap stocks in 2012. The small-cap fund is up 11.3% year to date, compared with a 14.3% advance for the S&P 500, according to Morningstar. [Small-Cap ETFs May Signal Big Trouble for Market]

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