Small-Cap ETFs Could See More Stress

The iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: IJR) and the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca: IWM) are off an average of 2% over just the past week, highlighting the laggard status of smaller stocks against their larger peers to start 2017.

Following Election Day, investors flocked to IWM, IJR and rival small-cap ETFs as markets priced in President Donald Trump’s “America First” mantra that would help domestically-oriented companies led the next leg in economic growth.

Expansionary fiscal policies have fueled inflation expectations, which have in turn raised bets on a Federal Reserve interest rate hike and strengthened the U.S. dollar. Consequently, with a stronger U.S. dollar, large-cap stocks may underperform as many large exporters find it harder to sell goods to foreign markets.

However, the market’s enthusiasm for small-caps has recently waned in dramatic fashion prompting some traders to call for more downside for the group.

“The IWM ETF that tracks the Russell opened Monday trading at $132.76, after peaking at $140.86 at the beginning of March. For Todd Gordon of, the recent slip is highly significant, as it took the ETF below its recent range of $133 to $135,” reports CNBC. “Currently, he sees the next range of support at the $126 to $128 zone — a prior zone of resistance. That is “a key decision point” on the charts, according to the trader.”