It' been a long time coming but today we saw the worst action of 2012. We've had only one other bad day this year, Jan. 26, where we sold off all day and closed near the lows. Despite a last-minute spike, we not only sold off and closed near the lows, but it was the biggest point loss of the year.
The big question is whether this is an indication of a major change in market character and an intermediate top, or long overdue profit-taking that will give us a healthier market as we shake out recent excesses. It's been amazingly one-sided for so long that it was inevitable the streak would end.
While it's probably a good idea to lock in gains after the big run, it's premature to conclude that the uptrend is over and a major breakdown will ensue. In fact, it can be argued that this is merely a return to normality and a little downside is healthy. The market needs to shake out overly exuberant bulls now and then to rebuild skepticism and attract new buyers.
Earnings season is basically over and we are heading into a weaker time of the year seasonally. The issues in Europe are not improving, so the bulls will have some headwinds to contend with going forward.