The major U.S. indexes were largely unchanged over the past week as strong employment data was offset by a likely interest rate hike next week. Non-farm payrolls rose a better-than-expected 235,000, although average hourly earnings rose a less-than-expected 0.2%. The headline unemployment rate fell 0.1% to 4.7%, which was offset by a welcomed 0.1% increase in the labor force participation rate to 63%—albeit still below standards.
International markets were also mixed over the past week. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.72%; Germany’s DAX 30 fell 0.53%; and, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3%. In Europe, the accelerating regional economy has prompted concerns over divisions in the ECB when it comes to crafting a single monetary policy for all 19 member nations. In Asia, Japan’s gross domestic product increased 0.3% in December but fell short of 0.4% expectations.
The S&P 500 SPDR (ARCA: SPY) fell 0.31% over the past week. Since reaching R1 resistance at $240.25 earlier this month, the index has fallen to its lower trend line support before rebounding slightly. Traders should watch for a rebound back to R1 resistance or a breakdown below support to the pivot point at $233.53. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI still appears lofty at 64.80, while the MACD experienced a bearish crossover.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average SPDR (ARCA: DIA) fell 0.41% over the past week. Since reaching R1 support earlier this month at $211.74, the index moved toward the middle of its price channel by mid-month. Traders should watch for a breakout to re-test R1 resistance or a breakdown below trend line support to the pivot point t at $204.61. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears overbought at 69.18 while the MACD recently experienced a bearish crossover.
The PowerShares QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) rose 0.2% over the past week, making it the best-performing major index. After briefly breaking below trend line support, the index appears ready to re-test its highs made earlier this year. Traders should watch for a breakout from R1 resistance at $132.19 or a breakdown to its pivot point at $128.53. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears overbought at 71.75 while the MACD experienced a bearish crossover.
The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (ARCA: IWM) fell 1.98% over the past week, making it the worst performing major index. Since touching its R1 resistance at $140.81 earlier this month, the index fell sharply to near its S1 support at $134.38. Traders should watch for a rebound back above its pivot point at $137.35 or a breakdown to S2 support at $130.92. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears relatively neutral at 44.18 while the MACD remains in a bearish downtrend.
The Bottom Line
The major U.S. indexes were mixed over the past week with most losing momentum judging by MACD readings and overbought based on RSI readings. Next week, traders will be closely watching several key economic indicators, including the FOMC announcement on March 15, housing and jobs data on March 16, and industrial production readings on March 17.
Note: Charts courtesy of StockCharts.com. As of the time of writing, the author had no holdings in the securities mentioned.