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Stock Market Battles Near Break-Even Line

The stock market battled to stay positive Friday, but it neither lost nor gained much. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump signed the NAFTA replacement agreement with Canada and Mexico on the eve of U.S. trade talks with China.




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The Nasdaq was flat, while the S&P 500 gained 0.1%. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.1%.

Early volume was down on both major exchanges. A lower-volume session would be no surprise with the talks between Trump and China’s communist leader Xi Jinping set to begin Saturday.

On Thursday, former U.S. ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns said President Trump has the “silent support” of many other world leaders whose countries also are unhappy with China’s trade tactics. Burns called Trump “a cagey negotiator.”

The stock market can be cagey too, as Fed chair Jerome Powell recently learned. The Street sold off hard on Powell’s early October remarks that interest rates were well below neutral. On Wednesday, Powell walked back the remarks, saying rates were just below neutral. The market rose in response.

Stock Market Action

Blue chips were mostly up early Friday. Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) advanced about 1% each. Walmart nudged above its 50-day line. Goldman Sachs (GS) gapped down 2.5%. Bank of America downgraded the stock after a news report attributed to anonymous sources said the Federal Reserve was stepping up an investigation of Goldman Sachs’ internal controls.

The Innovator IBD 50 Fund (FFTY) rose 0.5%, heading toward its sixth gain in seven sessions. An exchange traded fund, Innovator tracks the IBD 50.

PRA Health Sciences (PRAH) surged 3% after breaking out Thursday in twice its usual volume. The thrust put PRA Health 4% above a 112.98 buy point. The provider of clinical trial services is gunning for its eighth daily gain in a row.

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