Market Insider

Traders watching for signs to see if this selloff is the big one

Emerging market impact

With two ugly days for stocks, traders think it's too soon to say for sure whether this selloff is the long awaited 'big one.'

U.S. stocks have been swept lower in a global "risk off" selling spree, which began after China manufacturing data showed contraction and created fears of a global growth slowdown. Emerging markets have felt the brunt of the pain, from Istanbul to Buenos Aires.

Traders do see continued volatility and more selling into next week when the Fed is expected to decide on further curbing its bond buying program. On Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 both broke below their 50-day moving averages, a negative sign, and the VIX, which measures market fear, saw double digit percent gains.

While the 'big one' is relative, several strategists have built a correction of 10 percent or more into their forecasts for this year. Still, they mostly expect the market to end the year higher, even after last year's 30 percent gains.

"I don't think this is a correction. I had felt that the biggest threat of a correction was overexuberance. This is minor volatility. This is nothing," said David Bianco, Deutsche Bank chief U.S. equity strategist. "I think where the S&P belongs at this moment is 1800, plus or minus...I think in the next few months we stay in the 1750 and 1850 range. I would say it's most likely we don't even fall 5 percent from the high of 1848."