Market Mavens Say Correction Is Ending
It was the market move that everyone seemed to be expecting: the correction that the S&P 500 has suffered over the past month.
After being presaged for months by technicians, portfolio managers and traders alike, the market's uptrend finally broke on May 22. On that day, the S&P rose above 1685 to a record high, before reversing on concerns that the Federal Reserve would soon roll back quantitative easing.
Within two weeks, the S&P dropped to 1598 before recovering. So were those 5 percentage points the entirety of the correction that so many were fretting over for so long?
"We've had a correction that, peak to trough, was very shallow," Leuthold CIO Doug Ramsey said on Thursday's installment of CNBC's "Futures Now." "But what's been encouraging is just the fear I've seen on many of the sentiment data points that I track, all of which have taken some heavy damage considering how shallow this pullback has been."
People became bearish quickly, which Ramsey treats as a contrary indicator showing that the market now has room to run higher again. "We're pretty close to the correction, if we haven't seen the end of it," said Ramsey, who manages some $2 billion in assets with the Leuthold Group and is long S&P 500 futures.
Ramsey is in agreement with "The Godfather of Charting" on this point. Ralph Acampora, senior managing director of Altaira Ltd., said he would need to see both the Dow Industrials and Dow Utilities indexes better their May highs in order for the market to technically exit correction mode. But that didn't prevent him from observing that the market looked to have bottomed already.
"May I be very honest? I thought we were going to have a deeper correction," Acampora said on Tuesday's "Futures Now." "I thought this could have been the 5 to 10 percent correction, which honestly, I would welcome."
But the market's recent moves made him think otherwise.
"I was very impressed on [the previous] Friday when we had the second-biggest update this year," Acampora said. And after opening much lower on Tuesday, "the market stabilized. So yeah, I think it could be the end of the correction."
On the other hand, Oppenheimer Chief Market Technician Carter Worth sees more downside ahead.
In a recent note, Worth wrote that the "selloff in the market has not served its purpose, has not provided the comprehensive rest that the overall market needs."
Worth points out that from 1927 to present, the median S&P correction has taken the market down 12.2 percent, while the mean drop has amounted to 8.3 percent. "The midpoint of the mean and the median is a decline of 10.25 percent," Worth told CNBC.com, "which from the May 22nd high of 1689.18 would mean S&P 1515."
So will the market rise from here, or is the S&P due for a 7 percent decline? That is the question investors everywhere must answer for themselves.