After a dip down as the year started, the markets have finally hit positive territory for the year. In fact, the benchmark S&P 500 index is once again flirting with its all-time highs. Beyond the turmoil in Russia, many investors are looking to this coming Friday US employment data release as giving a sense of where the markets will be headed next.
CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, believes that regardless of what Friday may reveal, the remaining 10 months of this year could see some volatile markets.
“Remember that January was actually fueled by emerging markets,” says Sanchez. “February has been all about the data here in the US.”
Sanchez thinks the markets are expecting weaker data ahead. However, she thinks the numbers will be better than expected and that could actually be a little bit negative for the markets. Stronger data would mean the Federal Reserve Bank would continue tapering its bond-buying stimulus program. That, in turn, may cause the market to contemplate an economy without the Fed pumping in tens of billions of dollars into the financial system every month.
“That jobs number… is going to make it very difficult for Yellen to actually pause that taper,” says Sanchez. “So, I do think that there is some danger to where we are in the S&P  right now.”
If there’s a sell-off because strong data means more tapering, any drop in the S&P 500 would make for a good buying opportunity, according to Sanchez. Nonetheless, it could get shaky.
“For the end of the year, we could end up close to where we are now, maybe even a little higher,” says Sanchez. “But, I don’t expect that this is going to be a great year for the S&P . It’s going to be up and down all year. But, we’re likely to go down before we go up again.”
On the technicals, CNBC contributor Andrew Busch, editor and publisher of The Busch Update, sees what he calls “moving average stacking”. The S&P 500’s 50-day, 100-day, and 200-day moving average have all been moving in tandem for quite some time. He notes that the drop in the first two months of 2014 didn’t cause the 50-day moving average to move below the 100-day moving average. Had it done so, that would have been a medium-term sell signal. The reason that didn’t happens is that market snapped back quickly from its decline.
“We couldn’t even get a January selloff to last long at all,” says Busch. “That indicates pretty decent strength for [the S&P 500]. I wouldn’t sell it yet until you really start to see these moving averages point in the direction where you can sell, meaning the 50-day at least move below the 100-day.”
To see the full discussion on what’s next for the S&P 500 index with Sanchez on the fundamentals and Busch on the technicals, watch the video above.