NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- European headlines are getting the lion's share of the blame for across-the-board stock weakness. In fact, every investor worry pales in comparison to eurozone debt concerns.
On the other hand, weak corporate forecasts and earnings misses are also making the rounds. Most troubling? The world's largest package delivery company,
United Parcel Service
(UPS - Get Report)
, missed quarterly expectations and slashed its profit outlook for the full-year period of 2012. About a month ago,
(FDX - Get Report)
offered up similar warnings. (And yes, deliverers are blaming
the uncertainty in Europe
as well as uncertainty in the euro itself.)
Many investors view UPS and FDX as barometers for business health because they transport millions of packages daily. Similarly, the
iShares DJ Transportation Fund
demonstrates just how fragile the economy may in fact be. The current price of this exchange-traded tracker of transporters (e.g., railroad, trucking, air freight, etc.) is currently below a long-term trendline.
Even as most of the chatter surrounds the usual eurozone suspects -- Greece, Spain, Italy -- the media granted less attention to a disturbing Moody's downgrade. Perhaps unexpectedly, Moody's altered its outlook of the German economy from "neutral" to "negative." If the fourth-largest economy in the world crumbles, then a European recession may eventually go global.
iShares MSCI Germany Fund
provides an idea of whether or not investors expect German equities to rebound quickly. Unfortunately, the current price of EWG is near its June lows. Worse still, the downtrend appears intact, as EWG has run into stiff resistance on its last two attempts to recover its 200-day moving average.
Many continue to celebrate the resilience of U.S. stocks in a jittery global environment. However, the jubilation may not last much longer. Whereas large-cap barometers like the
Standard & Poor's 500
Dow Jones Industrial Average
are still trading above their respective trendlines, the small-cap space is far less convincing.
The iShares Russell 2000
, a premier gauge, is retesting a technical downtrend. If IWM cannot turn it around soon, those without
a plan to reduce risk
could see severe damage to account values.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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