NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Judging by the calendar, the bears are supposed to be sleeping for a while yet. But looking at the market of late, it's just as likely they're sharpening their claws. Sure, the Dow Jones Industrial Averagekept its winning streak intact, rising for an eighth straight week. But the action was actually pretty choppy -- two up days and two down -- with the individual names like General Electric ( GE) and International Business Machines ( IBM) posting outsized gains that masked broader weakness.
Or as Jim Cramer put it shortly after Friday's closing bell over on Real Money: "We just had one of THE most brutally positive weeks I can recall in years." Among the major U.S. equity indices, the Dow was the only man left standing. The S&P 500 fell 0.7%, and saw its seven-week winning streak come to an end. The Nasdaq Composite took a drubbing, losing 2.4%. Sentiment about the tech sector took a big hit when high-flier F5 Networks ( FFIV) disappointed and investors began to sell off shares of not only its competitors but those of companies who'd enjoyed similar stratospheric gains that put them in the same "priced for perfection" territory. But the biggest evidence of confidence being shook in the broad market was the decline in the Russell 2000, which fell 4.3%, wiping out roughly half of its gains since the start of this inexorable march higher by equities in early December. And while the Dow was able to climb 85 points in the holiday-shortened week, this eight-week streak may be cause for concern in and of itself. After all, most market observers would agree a pullback's got to come at some point, if only to placate the technical crowd. A tree can't grow to the sky and all that. The last time the Dow put together a similar run was an eight-week ramp-up that wrapped up on the week ended April 23, 2010. The following Monday, April 26, the blue-chip index peaked above 11,300 on an intraday basis, rising more than 100 points, but closed roughly flat. The day after that, concerns about Greece's debt situtation and the threat of contagion elsewhere in Europe took hold and last summer's rollercoaster ride (mostly scary dips) had begun. The Dow didn't climb back above that 11,300 level for more than six months.