Stock market bulls and bears are in the ultimate game of tug of war—and the market isn't budging.
The S&P 500 is in a virtual deadlock, flat for the last six months and up less than 2 percent for the year. And according to one technician, if the market continues to trade in this narrow range, it will mark an event so rare it's only happened once in the past 50 years.
"There hasn't been a 5 percent pullback in the S&P 500 since December," Jonathan Krinsky said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." Krinsky noted that while the occurrence isn't unprecedented, the last time the S&P 500 went a full year without a 5 percent decline was 20 years ago in 1995, and there were only four times before that in 1964, 1961, 1958 and 1954. In each of those years, the market posted an average return of 30 percent.
But despite the positive returns, Krinsky doesn't see the same thing happening this year. "It would be extremely rare to get through the last four months of the year without a correction of at least 5 percent," said Krinsky, chief market technician at MKM Partners. "We are at pretty historical extremes here, but I think a 5 percent pullback in the next month or two would not be that surprising or out of character," he added.
Confirming Krinsky's thesis is the tightening of the S&P 500's Bollinger Bands. This is a tool technicians use to measure the level of volatility in the market—as bands begin to tighten, the markets are less volatile. "There are only two other periods in history where the Bollinger Bands have been this tight," said Krinsky. "One of those times in 1966, which was the end of a secular and cyclical bull market and the other was in 1994." Both instances were followed up with a time of elevated volatility.
Krinsky sees the S&P 500 ending the year around 2,130, less than 2 percent higher than current levels.