(Note: The author of this fundamental analysis is a financial writer and portfolio manager.)
The S&P 500 Index (SPY) has had a fantastic 2017, rising by over 15 percent. But the big rally appears to be running out of steam.
A technical analysis of the chart suggests the index has run into a critical resistance level, and may be due for a pullback of nearly 4 percent over the next few weeks. That's nothing dire, but the pullback could have a far more significant impact in parts of the market that are extremely volatile.
In an Investopedia article on August 7, we noted that the S&P 500 could rise to nearly 2,650 by the end of 2017. As of November 8, the index has climbed to almost 2,596. (See more: Why The S&P 500 Can Reach 2,650 In 2017.)
But the tremendous run-up is starting to show signs of fatigue. That could mean the index is set to dip potentially to 2,500 over the next few weeks, but that's likely to be a minor ebb in a much longer-term uptrend.
The chart above shows that the index been in a long-term channel, going back to the bottom in 2009. The S&P 500 is currently hitting up against the upper technical resistance level. It is worth noting the trading channel ranges from approximately 2,275 to 2,600.
The hourly chart above shows that the index has two key levels of resistance: one from the trading channel started in 2009, and another from the February 2016 lows. This would be the appropriate level to see the S&P 500 begin its pullback to perhaps as low as 2,450, should support at 2,500 fail. A fall to 2,450 would be a much broader pullback, one of nearly 6 percent.
A pullback would likely be welcome by many investors, as it would alleviate fears of an overheating stock market. Additionally, it would technically put the S&P 500 in a better position for a further rise into 2018, during which it could soar to a range of 2,850 to 3,000 by year-end.
The S&P 500 has had an excellent year, but don't be surprised to see investors engage in some end-of-the-year profit taking, given some of the massive gains in individual stocks in 2017.
Should a pullback occur, it will likely be short-term, and one that should help drive the S&P 500 significantly higher for what should be a strong 2018. (See also: Why Stocks Will Finish 2017 On a Bull Run.)
Michael Kramer is the Founder of Mott Capital Management LLC, a registered investment adviser, and the manager of the company's actively managed, long-only Thematic Growth Portfolio. Kramer typically buys and holds stocks for a duration of three to five years. Click here for Kramer's bio and his portfolio's holdings. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Upon request, the advisor will provide a list of all recommendations made during the past twelve months. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.