NEW YORK – Investors expecting a pullback in stocks – and there are plenty of them – are going to have to wait. As of Friday the Dow Jones industrial average marked its longest winning streak in more than six years.
Stocks climbed again Friday after a strong report on new home sales offset mixed news from corporate earnings reports. Investors were also keeping a cautious eye fixed on Greece’s ongoing debt problems after the country decided to tap a bailout program.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed the day higher for the 11th time in the past 12 trading days. Friday’s 70-point gain wrapped up the index’s eighth straight weekly rise, which matches its longest string of gains since a two-month stretch that ended in January 2004.
Analysts have been saying for weeks that the market could be primed for a pullback, yet it still hasn’t materialized.
“It’s been quite a run,” said Stephen Carl, head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group in New York. Carl said momentum could be slowing after stocks have been on a nearly unbroken path upward over the past two months.
The Dow is up 8.5 percent during its two-month climb. The pattern of slow, steady gains leads analysts to believe that investors are becoming less discerning in their stock picking, leaving the market vulnerable if sentiment shifts for the worse.
“The market is trying to sort out how overbought it is,” said Nick Kalivas, vice president of financial research at MF Global in Chicago. “That’s left us in a choppy state.”
Volume has been low during the stretch, which analysts say is proof that investors are not fully confident that the gains are built on a solid foundation.
For the week, the Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of small company stocks, rose 27.30, or 3.8 percent, to 741.92. The Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index – which measures nearly all U.S.-based companies – rose 288.83 points, or 2.3 percent, to 12,607.66.