The stock market continues to keep sellers at bay, offering few reasons to fight the tape


Traders on the floor of the NYSE.

Source: NYSE

A shocking disappointment on the jobs report leading to a sprightly rally to new record highs is a fitting turn for a stock market whose defining feature right now is a dearth of determined sellers. 

That was Friday’s story, a 700,000-job shortfall in April relative to forecasts acting as an excuse for a relief bid in underperforming growth stocks with no evidence from sturdy cyclical sectors that investors were rethinking the near-universal expectations for a strong U.S. economic revival underway.

Of course, every share that’s bought is also sold. And, for sure, many precincts of the market — speculative-growth stocks, IPOs, alternative-energy plays — have indeed been battered by liquidations.

But the selling has been localized, and money has generally migrated into other groups rather than out of the market, leading to the unflappably rotating advance compared here last week to the prolonged calm rallies of 2013 and 2017.

Trading volumes in stocks and options have ebbed over the past several weeks — not unusual in a grinding uptrend but supportive of the idea that would-be sellers are content to let their equity allocations drift higher.

For the past month or so, by most evidence, it’s appeared that investors collectively were nearly “all in” on stocks. This remains the case. Bank of America’s reading on its wealthy clients’ equity allocations are the highest on record.



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