Market Divergences Making Traders Nervous

As earnings season winds down and investors turn their attention to tax policy negotiations, a number of market signals are causing concern for analysts, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.

These include:

  • Decreased market breadth—the low proportion of stocks that are contributing to market gains;
  • Breakdown of some indexes amidst highs in others—Although the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have hit record highs, the Russell 2000 (a yardstick for small-caps) has “faded in recent weeks,” the article says, which could be a sign that investors are becoming more risk-averse.
  • Large-cap momentum is also slowing, as evidenced by the number of stocks trading above their 50-day moving averages. According to the article, this could point to “waning buying interest.”

While being careful not to jump to the conclusion that it’s time to sell, the article says traders are paying close attention to these trends.