What’s our damage so far?

The bullish dynamic for risk assets on Wall Street is beginning to unravel, clearly. Blame it on trade-war fears, at least partly sparked by a May 5 tweet from President Donald Trump, or peg it to worries that the global economy is facing a pronounced slowdown. In any case, major assets are reflecting deepening concerns about the durability of bull run for stocks, which will mark its 10th year in about a month.

Here is how the market is setting up:

Nasdaq nears correction territory

The Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -0.79%

stands down 7.6% from its record on May 3. Most market participants view a decline of at least 10% from a recent high as representing a correction.

S&P 500 threatens to fall below 200 day

The S&P 500

SPX, -0.69%

is trading at or near its 200-day moving average, at 2,776.04, as of Wednesday afternoon trade. A breach below that point would represent a longer-term bearish momentum shift for the broad-market index. Market technicians tend to view moving averages as the demarcation between bullish and bearish momentum in an asset.

Check out: Here’s why stock-market bulls should heed the bond market’s warnings

Bonds have trounced stocks

The exchange-traded iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF

TLT, +0.23%

has gained 4.4% since May 3, compared with a negative 5.5% return for the S&P 500 and a negative 5.2% return for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.87%

Deep inversion

The 10-year Treasury note yield

TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.00%

fell below its 3-month

TMUBMUSD03M, +0.00%

  deepening an inversion of the yield curve, which measures the difference between the yield on the longer-dated Treasury and its shorter-dated counterpart.

Such rate inversions are rare because investors tend to demand higher yields for extending loans over a longer period. Therefore when rates invert it is viewed as a signal that an economic recession is in the offing. The 3-month/10-year inversion currently stands at the most severe since 2007.

Other asset moves

The small-capitalization Russell 2000 index

RUT, -0.94%

which should be more resilient to trade-war issues but tend to reflect growing domestic slowdown worries, has fallen nearly 7.7% since May 3 and is off more than 14% from its August 31 peak.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average

DJT, -0.76%

 is down 9.4% since early May.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index

SXXP, -1.43%

 is down 10.5% since its April 15 peak and off 5.1% since early May. Meanwhile, yields on German 10-year bonds

TMBMKDE-10Y, +0.00%

a proxy for the health of the European economy, have deepened their slide, yielding negative 0.18% compared with a yield at 0.02% on May 3, before Trump’s tweet storm.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index

SHCOMP, +0.16%

  has declined by 5.3%, while China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index

000300, -0.23%

  has declined by 6.4% over the same period.

Read: Bond-market inversion resembles 1998 — meaning ‘peak risk-off’ for the stock market, says Fundstrat’s Lee

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2019-05-29