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Stocks Drift As Market Awaits News On Trade

Stocks closed lower yesterday in uneventful trade.

It's been a directionless market over the last few days – going down a little one day, then back up, and then down again. Hopefully that means back up today. But my guess is we might see the broader markets continue this pattern until we get a bit more visibility of where the U.S.-China trade talks stand.

Quite frankly, just hearing that President Trump will meet with President Xi after the G20 summit next month would be enough goodwill to cheer the markets. But at the moment, the lack of any real news has folks filling in the blanks all on their own.

Make no mistake, the economy looks great. But traders are eager to see what happens with negotiations. Especially since tariffs on an additional $325 billion of Chinese goods awaits.

In other news, MBA Mortgage Applications increased by 2.4%, with the Purchase Index off -2.0%, but Refi's up by 8.0%. This comes a day after the Existing Home Sales report put in their best 3-month average since September of last year.

We also learned from the FOMC Minutes that the Fed is unlikely to be increasing interest rates anytime soon. Granted, they aren't likely to be cutting rates either. But the minutes confirmed that higher rates is a concern that nobody need worry about in the foreseeable future.

Today we'll get another look at the economy via the Weekly Jobless Claims, New Homes Sales, and the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index.

In the meantime, while the major indexes might be looking for direction, there are plenty of stocks breaking out to new all-time highs. But also, for companies that disappoint, there's plenty of opportunity on the downside too.

And even though volatility might be here to stay for a bit, there's big money to be made in both directions, if you know where to look. And strategies to do so with limited risk.

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Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research


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