The major U.S. indexes were mixed over the past week as the CBOE Volatility Index spiked from a low of around 11.0 to a high of 14.0 before ending the week at just below 13.0. The housing market provided mixed signals with existing home sales falling moderately below expectations, but new home sales soaring 6.1% higher in February to top estimates. Despite this news, healthcare reform was the primary driver of stock market volatility throughout the week as Republicans scrambled to push through a bill that was ultimately throttled.

International markets moved lower over the past week. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.76%; Germany’s DAX 30 fell 0.26%; and, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.2%. In Europe, investors were unnerved by a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom and remain anxious over healthcare reform in the United States. In Asia, investors remain concerned over China’s soaring corporate debt levels that could create a problem over the coming years and even prompted a warning from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC).

The S&P 500 SPDR (ARCA: SPY) rose 0.06% over the past week. After breaking down from trend line support at around $237.50, the index remains slightly above its pivot point at $232.52. Traders should watch for a breakdown from these levels toward S1 support at $228.76 or a move higher to re-test its trend line and R1 resistance at $239.21. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI is neutral at 46.35, while the MACD remains in a bearish downtrend that dates back to early March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average SPDR (ARCA: DIA) fell 0.28% over the past week, making it the worst performing major index. After breaking down from its trend line support at around $210.00, the index is trending just above its pivot point at $204.21. Traders should watch for a rebound to re-test its trend line and R1 resistance at $215.08 or a move lower to S1 support at around $200.46. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears neutral at 44.29, but the MACD remains in a bearish downtrend since early March.

The PowerShares QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) rose 0.61% over the past week, making it the best performing major index. After moving lower from its R1 resistance at $131.92, the index remains in the middle of its price channel. Traders should watch for a rebound to re-test R1 resistance levels or a move down to its pivot point and 50-day moving average at around $127.91. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears neutral at 55.87 while the MACD remains in a bearish downtrend dating back to late-February.

The iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (ARCA: IWM) rose 0.39% over the past week. After breaking down from its trend line support at around $136.00, the index rebounded from its S1 support and failed to break back through the trend line resistance. Traders should watch for a breakout to the pivot point at $136.96 or a breakdown to S2 support at $130.54. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears neutral at 42.74 while the MACD remains in a bearish downtrend that dates back to late-February.

The Bottom Line

The major U.S. indexes were mixed over the past week, but most remain in a bearish downtrend with worsening momentum. Next week, traders will be watching several key economic indicators including consumer confidence data on March 28, pending home sales on March 29, GDP data on March 30, and consumer sentiment data on March 31.

Note: Charts courtesy of StockCharts.com. As of the time of writing, the author had no holdings in the securities mentioned.