In a year in which stock prices mostly have been driven by news rather than fundamentals, three things stood out last week. First, terrorism has taken on an unsettling new face -- the stay-at-home mom down the street or your long-time co-worker at the plant -- as the dark side of the exponential growth in social media rears its ugly head (with something much more sinister than porn sites or online bullying). Second, with the strong jobs report on Friday, the Federal Reserve seems to have all their ducks in a row to justify the first fed funds rate hike in nine years. Read more about Sector Detector: Sector rotation model stays bullish, although fundamental rankings are still stuck in neutral

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. Read more about Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

As everyone knows, stocks do not go up in a straight line, not even during the holidays. So although the future looks bright for U.S. equities as the major indexes continue to hit or challenge new highs, the market has been gasping for a breather to gather bullish conviction. My fear has been that we might not see it until January, which likely would have resulted in a more severe correction at that time. But falling oil prices and a weak Energy sector seems to have introduced a reason to sell this week. Read more about Sector Detector: Bulls revel in new highs and blue skies, but oil introduces a dark cloud

Bulls showed renewed backbone last week and drew a line in the sand for the bears, buying with gusto into weakness as I suggested they would. After all, this was the buying opportunity they had been waiting for. As if on cue, the start of the World Series launched the rapid market reversal and recovery. However, there is little chance that the rally will go straight up. Volatility is back, and I would look for prices to consolidate at this level before making an attempt to go higher. I still question whether the S&P 500 will ultimately achieve a new high before year end. Read more about Sector Detector: Bullish conviction returns, but market likely to consolidate its V-bottom

Scott MartindaleOverall, the economy appears to be on a steady path to recovery. As the Federal Reserve eventually allows interest rates to rise, we likely will see a rotation out of value and into growth as defensive debt-intensive companies struggle relative to companies that have lower debt burden and stronger prospective earnings growth. Read more about Sector Detector: Bullish fundamental rankings at odds with bearish technicals

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Scott MartindaleAs I suspected it might, the stock market bounced strongly last week. Weakness the prior week was due in part to traders exiting positions for vacation during the holiday-shortened week, protecting big capital gains, cashing out to pay taxes on capital gains, and “delta hedging” on put options. However, I’m not convinced that the pullback was sufficient to create the great buying opportunity -- but it was sure a tradable bounce. Read more about Sector Detector: Rejuvenated market seeks follow-through, but earnings loom large

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Scott MartindaleLast week, stocks continued their rebound from the edge of the abyss. Investors responded positively to a dovish combination of comments from Speaker of the House John Boehner and new Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Mr. Boehner said he would not pursue another acrimonious battle over the debt ceiling. And Ms. Read more about Stocks continue to rebound from edge of abyss as uncertainties subside

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Scott MartindaleThe first full week of the New Year was uneventful. There seems to be some trepidation among U.S. equity investors after such a strong finish to 2013. On Friday, the jobs report was disappointing, but investors quickly shook it off as nothing more than an anomaly given the prior trends and closed the week on a high note. Among the business sectors, the big winner last week was Healthcare, but Technology also showed signs of life. Read more about Sector Detector: Investors watch for January effect as earnings season gets underway

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I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” -- Steven Wright

Ben Bernanke drew a solid line in the sand last week, announcing that the Federal Reserve was anchoring its rates to the unemployment rate. And, while not an action that changes much in the short term, it could prove to be the start of a more transparent Fed. Read more about ETF Periscope: Fed Offers Anchor as Solution to Choppy Economic Seas

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“If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion.” --  George Bernard Shaw

The fact that Washington continues to act out its political theater in somewhat of a vacuum, as if its actions had little impact on the rest of the country, doesn’t seem to be fazing the U.S. equity market a whole lot at the moment. Read more about ETF Periscope: EU Banking Union Likely Will Remain Unconsummated for Now

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