This will be a February for the history books! January ended with a big selloff to 3,225.5 and we saw a nice bounce into February with the S&P 500 hitting 3,393.5 (intraday) on the 19th, for a gain of just over 5% above January’s close. Of course, the last week of the month was not quite so forgiving and the S&P 500 proceeded to selloff hard into the end of the month, settling at 2,954.2 for a loss of 8.4% from January’s close.
Looking ahead to March, the S&P 500 closed flat in 2017, 2.7% lower in 2018 and 1.8% higher last year. Contrast those numbers with February (+4%, -4% and +3%), and it is pretty easy to see that March has historically been a much quieter month for the index. At 2,954.2 the index is currently 5.8% below its 3-month moving average (3,136.8) and 2% below its 10-month moving average (3,016.6). Things change fast, in the markets!
On Monday we will get a look at February’s ISM manufacturing index which surprisingly (to me) rebounded above 50, last month. It is hard to see how the index can remain in expansion (above 50) in this environment. Any number above 50 should be a real boon for this market (i.e. stop the bleeding!).