NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You know that feeling when you stand barefooted on the beach at the edge of the water? Now imagine when the water rolls in around your toes and you begin to notice the sand foundation under your feet beginning to give way. You're still loving the view so you simply readjust your stance, giving you time to hang around a little bit longer.
This is what the stock market feels like to investors who perhaps are long index ETFs or stodgy dividend payers. Their feet are still shuffling in place near all-time highs, but the shifting sands underneath are starting to make them think it might be time to start looking for higher ground.
We saw a nice bounce off lows that were set Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. But today's action surely left long investors starting to look around for the nearest hill to climb if that gentle bearish tide turns out to be the first wave in a destructive tsunami of sell orders.
Today, the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) resumed its lead to the downside, taking out some key levels and signaling a possible change of slope in some much-watched moving averages:
(This chart was shared at midday, and it got significantly worse!)
The iShares Biotech ETF (IBB) was the focus for much of the speculative activity in the first quarter of this year, but has witnessed a significant slide in the past several weeks. Chris Kimble points out that a key level here may trigger further pain if not held:
Even if it's merely a data point that alone means nothing, it could be significant. Surely casual investors will see headlines tonight and tomorrow pointing out the indices now being officially down for the year (not something they are used to):
The question becomes this: is the panic over once it starts hitting the front pages? Or will it grease the slide?
Either way, buckle up.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.