S&P 500 Tests 50-Day Moving Average as Italy Angst Rouses Bears

So much for the calm that appeared to be settling over the U.S. stock market.

The S&P 500 Index tumbled as much as 1.6 percent, leaving it just 6 points above its average price for the past 50 days -- a level it hasn’t fallen below for the past three weeks. The selling came as part of a global stock rout sparked by concern that political turmoil in Italy will destabilize Europe.

It was an abrupt turnaround for U.S. investors who, when they checked out Friday for the long holiday weekend, left behind a market that had been holding at the midpoint of this year’s trading range. The Cboe Volatility Index spiked almost 40 percent after closing near the lowest since late January.

Until earlier this month, the S&P 500 had languished below the 50-day average most of the time since the February correction. Prior to that, the line had been a consistent support level going back to November 2016.

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