Although the S&P 500’s performance has been pretty miserable over the last several weeks, a lot of investors would be surprised to hear that the index has actually alternated between positive and negative returns for the last ten weeks.  While the bears and bulls have been alternating with control of the market recently, the bears have clearly put in a stronger effort on weeks when they gain the upper hand.  In fact, in the midst of the ten alternating weeks of positive returns, the S&P 500 is down over 5.5%.

S&P 500 Weekly Change

While it may not seem like much of a noteworthy event, the current back and forth action in the S&P 500 on a week to week basis is quite rare.  Since 1928, there have only been seven other periods where the S&P 500 went back and forth between weekly gains and losses for ten or more weeks, and the longest streak of back and forth action was eleven weeks.  So if the S&P 500 is down this week, the current period will tie 1977 and 1994 for the longest stretches where the index alternated between positive and negative weekly returns.

Longest Back and Fort Streaks
10pctoff

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