Stock Market Pauses After 2 Big Days; This Index Leads

The major indexes were narrowly mixed Friday afternoon as the stock market paused after two days of impressive gains.




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The Nasdaq composite and the S&P 500 were nearly flat, while the Dow Jones industrial average eased 0.3%. The market felt dull compared with the past two days, when indexes soared Wednesday and made a bullish reversal Thursday.

Even a small increase or a minor decline today would be a positive step as the market tries to rebound from its worst decline in years.

After Thursday’s rise, the Nasdaq is less than 20% off its prior high and technically not in bear-market territory.

Small caps outperformed most indexes a bit, with the Russell 2000 roughly flat. The Russell remains about 23% below its prior high as small caps took a bigger hit during the market plunge of late 2018.

The energy sector continues to have a faint pulse despite a rise in oil prices. Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) was down 0.4%, the weakest of the S&P 500 sector ETFs. Several energy stocks were down in unusually high volume.

U.S. crude rose 1.6% to $45.33 a barrel. Oil is on pace to end the year around the lowest levels since June 2017.

Volume on stock exchanges was tracking lower compared with the same time Thursday. Advancing stocks led decliners by a 3-2 ratio on the NYSE and by 9-to-5 on the NYSE.

Leading stocks also lagged slightly, with the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) up less than 0.2%. Half the list was lower, with commodity stocks Kirkland Lake Gold (KL) and Phillips 66 Partners (PSXP) down 2%-3%.

Technology stocks such as Autohome (ATHM), Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and Intel (INTC) led the IBD 50. Intel is inching its way above the 50-day line in a long consolidation.

Broadcom (AVGO) extended a rebound off its 50-day line. The stock, which was added to the Leaderboard watch list today, is still in a long base.

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