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Stocks indecisive as investors weigh soft data against dovish central banks

After a big rebound in January, the US stock markets appear a little tired. Investors are weighing the negative impact of soft economic data on future company earnings against the positive impact of interest rates remaining low for longer, with several major central banks recently turning dovish. In addition, some market participants must be wondering whether the positivity surrounding the US-China trade talks might be priced in by now. As a result, we have seen some indecisiveness in the markets, with neither the bulls nor the bears appear to be in full control of the current trend. Indeed, reflecting this indecisiveness, the S&P 500 created a doji candle on its weekly time frame last week (see the inset). But as it still managed to close marginally above the week’s opening price, this ensured of a positive close for the seventh consecutive week. However, the shape of the candlestick and its location – near the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement against last year’s all-time high – points to potential weakness going forward. We have already seen the German markets tumble last week, while pockets of weakness have been apparent in a few other regions too. What’s more, prices of crude oil and copper are looking heavy again. And with the bulk of US earnings now out of the way, we wouldn’t be surprised if stocks were to start easing back a little here. That being said, for us to turn decisively bearish again, we need to see some further technical damage, for this could just turn out to be a mere pause before the uptrend resumes.


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