Stocks closed higher on Friday for the first time since Feb. 4, but it appears appear that Friday was nothing more than a "bounce" day in the markets as the trend continues to be bearish across all time frames.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way with a 313-point gain to close at 15,974, and the S&P 500 was higher by nearly 36 points to close at 1865. The Nasdaq was up 70 points to finish at 4337.5, and the Russell 2000 gained 18 points to close at 972.
For the year, the Dow is down 8.3%, the S&P 500 is down 8.9%, the Nasdaq is lower by a whopping 13% and the Russell 2000 is down 14%.
As Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen concluded her remarks before Congress last week, it appears the markets are pricing in a "no" interest rate hike at the March FOMC meeting. Do not be so fast in that conclusion, however. As long as the Fed is looking at job growth and a stock market that is not becoming disruptive to the downside in a short period of time, an interest rate hike in March would seem to still be on the Fed's agenda.
If it does raise interest rates in March, it should provide another huge move to the downside in the stock market.
In other words, this market is going a lot lower before this bear goes into hibernation.
Attached is a daily chart of the S&P 500 index that puts the trend into perspective. The trend is clearly lower and the indices continue to make lower highs and lower lows. That is not a good setup for higher stock prices.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.