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Lot Of Range In This Range-Bound Market

By Paul Vigna
OB RK384 stocks D 20120117144815 Lot Of Range In This Range Bound Market

The SP 500′s crested over the 1300 mark this morning, and the bulls seemed to have this thing well under control. But as evidenced by what we’re seeing here in the afternoon, “under control” is a relative term these days.

The gains this year, so far, have come in a thin market that’s narrowly driven, says Merrill/BofA’s technical strategist Mary Ann Bartels. “The SP 500 is grinding higher but volume and breadth are still not confirming the rally,” she writes. “We expect the market to remain range-bound.”

Still, Bartel’s rangebound market can move through a pretty broad range. She pegs the top around 1350-1365. Low end’s around 1100. The index hit its 2011 low in July of…1099. It hit a year high in April of…1364.

One boost to US stocks, she says, may be European money looking for a safe refuge. A bonds/stocks comparison, she says, still favors bonds.

SP 500 was recently up 3 points, or 0.3%, to 1293 on, you guessed it, light volume.

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