NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks may be reaching support levels after heavy selling pressure the past few weeks.
In order to determine support levels of stocks, consider a relative strength indicator, in this case iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) over iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond (ETF) (TLT), which measures small-cap stocks in relation to long-dated Treasury bonds.
Small-cap stocks tend to lead the market when investor confidence is strong, while Treasuries lead during times of investor anxiety. Overall, the back testing of this indicator shows that it does correlate well with movements in U.S. equities.
Shares in the iShares Russell 2000 were recently up 78 cents to $110.29. Their 52-week high was $117.37 hit last month, and the low was $88.79 last February. Shares in iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond were recently up 49 cents to $101.19. They have traded in a 52-week range between a high of $124.26 and low of $101.17.
Over the past year, driven in part by the Federal Reserve's stimulus program, equity markets across the globe have trended higher.
There was so much liquidity running through the system that investors knew any attempt to sell off would be met by resistance from the Fed. That deterred bears from selling assets short and kept the iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN (VXX) -- a measure of market anxiety -- at record lows.
Nonetheless, analysts knew buyers had to sell assets at some point. U.S. equity markets were reaching all-time highs without the slightest bit of selling pressure. That kept some buyers who missed rallies out of the market for fear of chasing stocks higher and ultimately buying as the market topped.