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The Standard and Poors 500 index (SPX) closed today at 4348, down 34 points on the day or -0.8%. This decline began last Friday and continued during this shortened four-day week to post a 1.1% weekly decline. Trading volume ran below the 50-day moving average (dma) all week but spiked higher today.

VIX, the volatility index for the S&P 500 options, closed today at 13.4%, down from 14.4% on Tuesday. Today was the first day VIX has shown some life since June 13th.

I track the Russell 2000 index with the IWM ETF, which declined significantly this week, closing today at 185.2, down -1.5% on the day and down 2.5% for the week. The small cap stocks of the Russell 2000 really fell out of bed this week, gapping open lower every day this week. IWM’s 50 dma is running below its 200 dma and IWM's closing price today is trading just above the 200 dma at 178. This is the most negative signal for the current market.

The NASDAQ Composite index closed at 13,493 today, down 138 points or -1% on the day and lost 1.1% for the week. NASDAQ remains above its August 2022 high, but it gave up about half of that margin this week. NASDAQ’s trading volume was flat and slightly declining all week but spiked much higher today.

This was an ugly week for the markets. To my view, it seemed as though the market had ignored the obvious message from Powell last week that at least one more rate hike may be coming this year (and maybe two). That reality dawned on the market this week. The spike in trading volume both last Friday and again today suggest the large institutional traders are taking their profits from this latest rally.

The small cap stocks of the Russell 2000, as measured by the IWM, are really on life support. Traditionally these high beta stocks lead bull markets higher and bear markets lower. As SPX and NASDAQ were trading higher last week, IWM tracked sideways. As SPX and NASDAQ were declining this week, IWM was taking a loss approximately double that of its big brothers. That is a worrisome sign for the short-term future.

The VIX finally came to life today, although it only rose 4%. Many analysts see a low level of volatility as a sign of an impending correction, but it also may be viewed as an overall lack of anxiety.

Keep a close eye on your investments. Be prepared to increase your cash levels if warranted.