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Stock market leaders and Big Mo under pressure

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Lightening up on market leaders and Big Mo. Stocks that have been market leaders, along with Big Momentum names (those that are heavily traded for their growth characteristics) are weak today.

Market leaders down notably today, including ETFs:

Big Momentum weakness:

What's going on? Any time traders are concerned with a little frothiness, or that rates might rise...you will see some profit taking in market leaders and Big Momentum stocks.

Yield curve flattening is what today is about. You can see this with the Treasury yield curve, where yields on the 2-, 3-, 5-, and 7-year Notes are moving up.

This is about not knowing the timing of the rate hike.

The other major issue for the markets is China. The data has been weak recently, and it seems unlikely that China's GDP will grow 7 percent this quarter. The Chinese market has been higher recently because there is a belief the People's Bank of China will embark on a stimulus program, even though the country already has too much debt.

And yes, China has Big Mo names as well...Chinese solar stocks are weak today, most down 5 to 6 percent, and Chinese internet names are also weak, with companies like Sohu (SOHU) down 5 percent, Youku (YOKU) down 3.8%, and LightInTheBox (LITB) down 4.7%.

Finally, the simmering tension in Crimea is also a factor. European stocks started weak and moved down in late trading, with most bourses ending down one percent or more. NATO's top military commander said yesterday that a "very sizable" Russian force was massing on the Ukrainian borders.


By CNBC's Bob Pisani

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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