Doubt Appears To Creep Into Stock Market On News Flow

Although stocks have been chalking up gains in recent days, the market is looking like it is beginning to doubt that the rally has much more steam left.

Stocks seesawed between losses and gains Thursday as investors digested a bevy of inputs, some bearish and others encouraging. The market ended higher, marking the 5th consecutive day of gains for the three main U.S. indices. The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 (RUT) also ratcheted higher for the 5th straight session.

Whether U.S. equities can prolong those gains into a 6th consecutive day remains to be seen. Some pressure crept into the market in early trading today after Reuters reported that China plans to lower its economic growth target this year amid U.S. tariffs and slackening domestic demand. 

Technically speaking, it could be important if the S&P 500 (SPX) can hold above the key 2584 level. Meanwhile, the 24000 mark for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) looks like a psychologically significant level. 

In economic news this morning the Labor Department said consumer prices in December fell 0.1% month over month, in line with a consensus estimate.

Fed Doubles Down On Dovish Talk

The market was able to shrug off the negatives Thursday, at least enough to end in the green, even though it’s arguable that the mostly disappointing news flow capped what could otherwise have been a stronger up day.

Investors cheered fresh comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who reiterated that the central bank will be patient with monetary policy. In remarks prepared for a Thursday evening speechFed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said policy makers “can afford to be patient” as inflation is “muted,” adding to the dovish tone that has been emanating from the central bank in recent days. 

Although Clarida’s speech came after market was closed, Powell’s

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