The S & P 500 Approaches a Critical Level, Raising Concerns for Investors
The S & P 500, a broad index of US stocks, has been closely monitored by investors as it nears a make-or-break level. Although the index had a strong start to the year, it experienced losses during the challenging third quarter. In July-September, the S & P 500 lost 3.7%, ending its three-quarter winning streak. The losses continued into early October, with a decline of more than 1%. These downward movements have brought the index close to a significant level of 4,200, causing concern among investors.
The 4,200 level is significant because it aligns with the index’s 200-day moving average, a key indicator for traders. A move below this average could indicate a downward trend for the index. This would be the first test of the moving average since March. Additionally, the 4,200 level holds significance due to its association with the range breakout in May and the 38.2% retracement of the October ’22 lows to July ’23 highs. Another level of interest is 4,145, which represents a breakout mark and a retracement point. Previous resistance levels from last February, May, and November are also worth monitoring, as they can potentially turn into support levels.
Market experts have different predictions for the future of the S & P 500. Some anticipated a pullback starting in July, with the expectation that it would be a minor retreat bringing the index closer to its 200-day average. However, investors’ expectations have evolved, and they are now prepared for more significant market shocks. Despite the recent market developments, some analysts still expect the S & P 500 to end the year around 4,600, implying an approximately 8% increase from its current level. However, this forecast is below a previous prediction of 4,800. There is a possibility that the index may reach its all-time high, but it might take longer than initially anticipated. On the other hand, if the market does not find support above the 4,145 level, the index could drop to 3,800 or even below 3,500 in a bear-market scenario. The average market strategist predicts the index will finish the year at 4,392, which is 3% higher than its most recent closing level.
While Wednesday’s market advance provided some relief in the short-term, concerns remain about the S & P 500’s ability to surpass the 4,200 level and the potential for further declines. Market analysts suggest that falling crude oil prices may present an opportunity to invest in energy stocks, with Transocean being highlighted as an attractive option based on technical indicators.