However, if you remove U.S. small-caps from the equation, things look a bit more dicey. The Vanguard FTSE All-World Ex US Small-Cap ETF (VSS) gives us a clear picture of this struggle right now.
If we just isolate the price action first on the daily chart, a few concerns become evident. First, we have the sharp ascent from March through the beginning of May, but since that time, it has been a straight 4% decline. After a 12% move higher, a 4% retracement isn't the worst thing in the world. Most Fibonacci traders likely find these levels attractive; however, if we don't bounce right here, this one feels more likely to retrace two-thirds of this move rather than one-third.
A close under $103.50 sets VSS up to fill a gap on the chart down to $101. At that point, I anticipate $100 will become a magnet for the stock which is almost $4 lower. Even if we do get a bounce, the ETF now has resistance at $104.50 as well as $105. With a current risk of almost $4 lower and a reward likely capped just one dollar higher, the chart, based on price action only, seems to favor the bears.
There is little help for the bears in the technical picture. Momentum and trend are both bearish here with the Relative Strength Index threatening to make new lows. The last time we saw the RSI this low, the ETF did make a short-term low, but that was back at $97 per share. A new low on the RSI is going to create a bearish divergence on the chart. Furthermore, that low on the RSI came paired with a bullish oversold cross on the slow stochastics. This time around, the bullish cross on the slow stochastics already occurred and has already reversed.
Price is buried well under the 20-day Moving Average, but unlike last time, we have a close under the 50-day Moving Average as well. Even more, the ETF closed under the lower Bollinger band. These characteristics are all different (and bearish) versus the recent March low.
The market stateside feels a bit heavy, but outside of the U.S., it is clear the small-cap names are heavy. Tread carefully.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Real Money on June 8.