I've been saying for months the fall in oil prices is a net negative for the US economy. Considering how much money was poured into the energy sector when oil was at $140 a barrel, a lot of jobs were created. The fracking industry has exploded. This year however, these companies' hedges are going to expire and even more layoffs will ensue as most of them only break even with oil at $55 a barrel. It's trading below $30 now and there's no reason for that price to increase with the Saudis refusing to cut production and US production at record highs.
I would expect many companies involved with transporting oil , companies that create the equipment used for drilling, banks that provided loans to these companies that will default will face problems as well.
The alleged slowdown in China certainly doesn't help the situation considering they are the largest consumer of .
Also, consider margin debt is at record levels. We all know how that works. Once the margin calls start coming in, the forced selling will lead to more margin calls, etc. I've been short since September. I'm shorting growth companies with high valuations. I have a 2x inverse Biotech considering it's likely to fall the hardest in the event of a crash and a 3x inverse SPY for kicks. I've also been trading SPY puts and will continue doing so at every pop.
I would consider going to cash if SPX hits 1,600.