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Stocks Just Miss Record Highs

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Stocks Just Miss Record Highs

Stocks began the trading session on a positive note after failing to render 3-consecutive positive closing weeks. Economic data this week will likely keep stocks in a tight range as there is little that could be considered a catalyst to drive stocks higher or lower. Weather will turn frigid again in the eastern portion of the US creating further confusion on the actual direction of the underlying economy. The S&P 500 made a new intra-day high, but could not close at a new all-time high.

There are a number of data points which are scheduled to be released this week but none are likely to clarify the current economic backdrop in the US. Durable goods orders will reflect consumer sentiment but with Boeing (NYSE:BA) orders weaker the transportation number are likely to distort the overall picture for items that are expected to last at least 3-years. The end of the week is likely to see Q4 GDP revised lower from the initial 3.2% annualized pace. Weaker retail sales and net exports and less inventory accumulation could see growth marked down to something closer to 2.3%.

Fed Chair Yellen delivered her semi-annual testimony to the Senate, which was delayed by a week due to the inclement weather in Washington DC. Her prepared remarks are unlikely to change. The key message is that barring a significant economic deviation from Fed expectations, the measured tapering of long-term asset purchases will continue.

The technical picture is strong, although stocks closed way off the session highs and moved lower into the close. Momentum is still strong with the MACD printing in positive territory with an upward sloping trajectory.

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