Major U.S. indices moved largely lower last week despite posting better-than-expected economic readings. U.S. retail sales increased 0.26% in February compared to a 0.61% drop in January, signaling that consumers are increasingly willing to spend. Initial claims for unemployment also came in at 315,000 compared to 324,000 during the prior period, suggesting the country's employment situation is still improving.

International markets performed even worse than the major U.S. indices in many cases. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.59%; Britain's FTSE 100 fell 2.37%; and Germany's DAX 30 fell 3.56% last week. In Asia, investors are becoming increasingly worried about a slowdown in China after industrial output slowed to 8.6% during the first two months of the year and property sales fell 3.7% compared to last year's 26.3% increase.

The SPDR S&P 500 (ARCA:SPY) ETF fell 1.65% last week, as of Friday morning. After nearing its R1 resistance at 191.06, the index moved sharply lower towards its 50-day moving average at 182.94. Traders should swatch for a move lower to the pivot point at 182.38 or a rebound higher to retest R1 resistance at 191.06. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI has moderated with a neutral reading of 51.59, while the MACD appears like it could be nearing a bearish crossover.

The SPDR S&P 500 (ARCA: SPY) ETF fell 1.65% last week, as of Friday morning.

The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (ARCA:DIA) ETF fell 1.97%  last week, as of Friday morning. After reaching towards R1 resistance at 166.96, the index moved sharply lower, hitting its 50-day moving average at 161.03. Traders should watch for a breakdown from these levels towards its pivot point at 159.83 or a rebound higher to retest its R1 resistance. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears oversold at 47.62, while the MACD appears ready for a bearish crossover.

The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (ARCA: DIA) ETF fell 1.97%  last week, as of Friday morning.

The PowerShares QQQ (NASDAQ:QQQ) ETF fell 1.50% last week, as of Friday morning. After moving to around 91.00, the index fell sharply lower towards its pivot point at 88.23. Traders should watch for a move lower towards its pivot point and 50-day moving average at 88.00 or a rebound higher to retest the upper end of its channel and R1 resistance at 93.07. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears neutral at 48.45, but the MACD recently experienced a bearish crossover.

The PowerShares QQQ (NASDAQ: QQQ) ETF fell 1.50% last week, as of Friday morning.

The iShares Russell 2000 (NYSE:IWM) ETF fell 2.39% last week, as of Friday morning. After touching its upper trend line, the index moved lower towards its 50-day moving average at 114.91. Traders should watch for a move down to these levels or its lower trend line and S1 support at 110.29 or a rebound higher to retest its upper trend line. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears neutral at 50.19, but the MACD experienced the start of a bearish crossover.

The iShares Russell 2000 (NYSE: IWM) ETF fell 2.39% last week, as of Friday morning.

Summary

The major U.S. indices moved largely lower last week, with many of them experienced bearish MACD crossovers that could indicate a prolonged bearish trend. Next week, traders will be watching a number of key economic indicators including industrial production on March 17th, consumer price index and housing starts on March 18th, FOMC announcements on March 19th, and jobless claims and housing data on March 20th.

Charts courtesy of StockCharts.com.

 

Disclosure - At the time of writing, the author did not own shares of any company mentioned in this article.

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