Stocks closed mixed Tuesday as the Cyprus bank bailout dominated the headlines. At mid-morning, stocks sagged on news that the Cypriot parliament had rejected a plan to tax depositors, but later stocks rallied as the direct result of a signal from the European Central Bank (ECB) that it would provide liquidity within the rules of the ECB.
The U.S. dollar index jumped to its highest level since August, as it represents a “safe zone” for foreign investors, but that too put pressure on U.S. securities.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4 points to 14,456, the S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,548, and the Nasdaq lost 8 points at 3,229. The NYSE traded 731 million shares and the Nasdaq crossed 389 million. Decliners outpaced advancers on both key exchanges by 1.4-to-1.
The S&P 500 has yet to break the barrier to a new closing high of 1,565 (see March 18 Daily Market Outlook). However, the Russell 2000 small-cap index, the S&P 400 midcap index and the Dow industrials (see March 13 Daily Market Outlook) broke to all-time highs last week. The charts show support lines and moving averages for each index.
Conclusion: Despite the S&P 500’s inability to make new highs, the technical picture is still solidly bullish. However, near-term momentum has slowed, and the MACD indicator in each chart is arching down, meaning that a minor consolidation is likely.
This is not unusual after such an explosive run to high ground and could provide buyers an opportunity to nab some bargains — especially in the more volatile small-cap and midcap arenas. The advance has been broad and supports further new highs.
Today’s Trading Landscape
To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here.
For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here.