This is the most important level to watch on the S&P, says equity strategist

After an unusually volatile string of sessions for U.S. equity markets, stocks have kicked off the week relatively calmly. Amid the market swings, one chart-minded strategist has identified a key level for the S&P 500 which carries significance for other major markets, too.

The 200-day moving average has proven critical support for the S&P 500, according to Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. He is now eyeing the 200-day moving average as key support for other indexes, as well. Here are his reasons.

• The 200-day moving average on the S&P 500, which on Tuesday came in at 2,541, has proven solid support for the S&P 500. The S&P dipped just below that level on Friday before closing the day higher, but before that it hadn't been tested since November 2016.

• Not only is the 200-day moving average significant for the S&P, but it has proven good support in the Russell 2000, the popular iShares emerging markets exchange-traded fund (EEM) and the Japanese Nikkei.

• Investors are going to be watching the individual 200-day moving averages across these key markets and ETFs around the world. The moving average is a common indicator that takes the average closing price over a particular period of time, in this case 200 days.

• If any of these markets experience significant pullbacks that violate their respective 200-day moving averages to the downside, this will be quite significant on a technical basis for the rest of the first quarter.

Bottom line: The 200-day moving average is a significant level for not only the S&P 500 but for the Russell 2000 and one popular emerging markets ETF as well, according to one strategist.


Trades to Watch

Trader Bios


Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

Read more