If it seems like the market just can’t hold onto its gains this year, you’re not mistaken. The chart below shows an intraday composite of the S&P 500 on a median basis over the past 100 trading days until the end of April.
The general trend during this period was for the market to open slightly higher, but then sell off for the rest of the morning. It then regained its footing shortly after midday, but then sold off at the close.
How does the past five months or so compare to history? The charts below really put the recent trend of intraday weakness into perspective.
The first chart shows the number of days over a rolling 100 trading day period that the S&P 500 Tracking ETF (SPY) traded in positive territory on an intraday basis, but ended the day lower.
The reading currently sits at 38 and hit 40 (red line) in the last week of April. As the chart below shows, there has never been another time when the S&P 500 has struggled so hard to hold onto its intraday gains in over a decade (October 2010)!
For the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ), it’s been a similar story. As recently as April 22, the number of times in the last 100 trading days that QQQ traded in positive territory on an intraday basis but ended the day lower reached 42 and currently sits at 40 Like SPY, the recent reading of 42 was the highest number of occurrences in a 100 trading day period since October 2010.
For both indices, the currently high frequency of intraday gain abandonment has been extremely rare for the post-financial crisis period. Interestingly, however, in the ten years leading up to the financial crisis, these types of periods were much more common, especially for the Nasdaq.
Could this have something to do with the fact that the last 12 years have also been one of the most accommodative monetary environments investors have ever experienced?
Editor’s note: The summary bullet points for this article were chosen by the Seeking Alpha editors.