Record Streak Over; Is a Rally Under Way?

After 14 straight days of alternating between up and down closings, stocks finally broke out of their holding pattern today.

For the first time since March 19, the S&P 500 moved in the same direction on consecutive days. The benchmark index closed up 0.35% on Tuesday after advancing 0.6% on Monday. It ends the longest streak of alternating between up and down days in the history of the benchmark index.

The S&P flirted with closing at a new all-time high, nearly touching 1,574 just before 3 p.m. eastern time. But it pulled back in the final hour of trading to finishing at 1,568.61, roughly two points shy of the record 1,570.25 closing a week ago today.

So the index remains stuck in the same 1.6% closing range it has been operating in for the past month. Since March 8, the S&P 500 hasn’t closed below 1,545.80, and hasn’t finished above the aforementioned 1,570 level.

Now that it has advanced for two straight days, perhaps an extended rally is in store. Usually, when stocks break out of a narrow trading range, the breakout – either higher or lower – is significant.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, did finish at a record high of 14,673, eclipsing last Tuesday’s 14,662 mark. That also ended a long back-and-forth streak, as the index had seesawed up and down for 13 consecutive days entering Tuesday.

It’s too early to declare this the beginning of another rally – even after back-to-back up days. However, breaking out of its back-and-forth cycle is a start – and is a small victory for the bulls.

We’ll see if they can keep the momentum going.

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