What happened? No single thing prompted today's little market air pocket. The backdrop into and over the weekend featured plenty of preconditions for a "Why not sell a little?" impulse:
- We'd gone months without any noteworthy pullback—a gentle grind with an upward tilt that compressed the VIX down to below 11. While itself no guarantee of a downside dive, long periods of calm give way to storms—which tend to feel worse than they are for being unfamiliar.
- Barron's runs "Dow 30K" on the cover (even if couched as a long-term call), and many remarked on a major bulge in insider selling last week.
- February has a well-earned reputation for market shakeouts (though not major trend changes) so that's no doubt in traders' minds.
- We tagged 20k and 2300 on the S&P 500, lending a feeling of "culmination" rather than "a new beginning."
Here's what else I'm watching heading into the closing bell: