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Stocks Rally on Improving Economic Outlook (SPY, DIA)

The major stock market indexes moved higher over the past week after an index of leading economic indicators rose a solid 0.5% in December. The highly-watched index reflects a continued growth outlook, but not yet acceleration, for the economy’s moderate pace. At the same time, GDP data showed a modest 1.9% annualized growth rate for the fourth quarter, which pales in comparison to the 3.5% growth last quarter and the 2.2% consensus estimate.

International markets followed the U.S. markets lower over the past week. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.67%; Germany’s DAX 30 rose 1.58%; and, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.21%. Over in Asia, Japan’s Consumer Price Index fell by 0.3% in 2016 for the first time in four years, which could be a blow to the central bank’s efforts to bolster the economy.

) rose 0.98% over the past week. After breaking out from R1 resistance at $228.89, the index failed to breakout from its upper trend line resistance. Traders should watch for a breakout from R2 resistance at $231.94 or a move back down to its 50-day moving average at $223.87. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI is overbought at around 63.29, but the MACD could be in the midst of a bullish crossover and reversal of its downtrend.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average SPDR (ARCA: DIA ) rose 1.35% over the past week. After reaching its R1 resistance at $200.88 and breaking through the psychological $200.00 barrier, the index trended modestly sideways. Traders should watch for a breakout to R2 resistance at $204.44 or a move lower to its lower trend line at around $199.00 before a move higher. Looking at technical indicators, the RSI appears lofty at 67.45, but the MACD could see a bullish turnaround.