Even as stocks seemed steadier on Tuesday after Monday's big sell-off, some charts still look very dicey to technical analysts, who warn of more possible losses to come.
For instance, the S&P 500 index closed below its 200-day moving average, a key measure, on Tuesday for a second day, in a sign of a possible trend change. That moving average is no longer pointed upward and is descending, in another negative sign for analysts who follow the charts.
And the small-cap Russell 2000 index looks to be heading for a scary negative chart pattern, called a "death cross."
"Other times when we had a death cross in the last five years, it's been an oversold buying opportunity," said Scott Redler, partner with T3Live.com. "You can't ignore the possible death cross in small caps, because in the last few weeks bearish signs have been working out."
"[The Russell] is right now in the crosshairs. It kind of had a V-bottom two weeks ago. The V could turn into a W, or it could lead the market lower. It's something to watch," he said.
The Russell chart would show a death cross if the shorter-term 50-day moving average falls below the longer-range 200-day moving average. In this case, the shorter-term 50-day of 1,615.81 is close to crossing down through a descending 200-day level of 1,615.514.
The 50-day has not crossed down through the 200-day on the Russell 2000 since September 2015, when the small-cap index closed at 1,146. The Russell then fell to a low of 953.72 by Feb. 11, 2016, when the broader stock market bottomed, resulting in a loss of 16.8 percent.