Stocks were lower for the third straight day on Thursday with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, along with related exchange traded funds, testing their short-term trend lines.
The SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) is down 2.4% over the past week and SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEArca: DIA) is down 2.3%. Both ETFs are dipping toward their 50-day simple moving averages. SPY has gained 13.8% year-to-date and DIA has risen 15.4%.
The 50-day moving average has also provided support for the S&P 500 during brief pullbacks in February and April.
The Dow is currently at risk of breaking an 108-trading day streak of closes above its 50-day average, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The last one ended at 148 trading days on Feb. 27, 2007.
If the stock markets break through the short-term trend lines this time around, the long-term 200-day moving average could be next. SPY is currently 6.4% above its long-term trend line and DIA is 6.1% above the long-term trend.
The equities market retreated over the past two weeks, fueled by growing concerns that Federal Reserve will begin “tapering” its bond purchases. [VIX ETFs Rise Despite Higher Dow]
“Nervousness has definitely increased this week and most of the economic data has been a little worrisome,” Ryan Detrick, Cincinnati-based senior technical strategist with Schaeffer’s Investment Research, said in a report at TheStreet. “With the monthly jobs data coming out on Friday, concerns of Fed tapering and a slowing economy has created a sell first, ask questions later mentality.”
“You got this contrast in what the Fed should do, should they continue to pump the system full of liquidity or is it the time to pull back?” Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen Ball & Associates in Bethlehem, said in a Bloomberg article. “All those cross-currents throw some caution on the whole market. “