Is There a Catalyst in the House?

03/31/2014 6:00 am EST

Focus: ETFs

L.A. Little

Contributing Editor, Minyanville

Typically, the small caps and the NASDAQ Composite are seen as an economic barometer as well as a speculative one, says LA Little on

Will this market do what it has consistently done for what seems like eons and break higher yet again or won’t it be affected by the significant underperformance of the NASDAQ (QQQ) and (NDX)?

Typically the small caps, Russell 2000 (IWM) and the NASDAQ Composite are seen as an economic barometer as well as a speculative one. The Russell contains the small capitalization firms that are much more tied to local sales and thus the US economy while the NASDAQ is comprised of technology (XLK) companies and thus is much more about growth rather than a solid income stream.

Both are struggling. Both are underperforming relative to the S&P 500 (SPY).

Is it just a hiccup or something more? As can be seen in the comparison chart, each attempt to outperform (which is the normal case in a bull market) sees the small caps pulled back in to just average performance.

Click to Enlarge

Although one would be hard pressed to say that this time is different, that we really will get a more substantial pullback this time around, it’s clear that the market is struggling and that struggle seems to be centered around the fact that there just isn’t a strong catalyst to take us higher. How can we value the market higher unless we finally start seeing a better economy than what has been seen. Finally, it is more about the economy than just the Fed, and with the Fed tapering, it is even more so true now as they are telling us that the economy is getting stronger. It had better as the market won’t be able to push higher without that happening.

By LA Little, Contributor,