11.25.13: Looking for a stock market pullback? Don't bother this year …

11.25.13: Looking for a stock market pullback? Don't bother this year …

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Markets: By the numbers

Japan’s Nikkei
15,619.13 +237.41 +1.54%

China’s Shanghai
2,186.12 -10.26 -0.47%

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
23,684.45 -11.83 -0.05%

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200
5,352.80 +16.90 +0.32%

The question isn’t so much what will propel stocks to seemingly new records, it’s what might stop them.

Wall Street set another record last week, and the rally that has taken the S&P 500 index nearly 30% higher for the year shows no sign of losing steam as Americans prepare to celebrate their Thanksgiving holiday.

The Toronto stock market closed flat on Friday; the S&P/TSX Composite Index hasn’t fared as well as it’s U.S. counterpart this year, though it has gained traction in the past few months, touching near two-year highs.

With earnings season out of the way and with “taper” talk expected to be at a minimum through the remainder of the year, U.S. investors in particular appear to be bracing for the not-to-be-missed Santa Claus rally.

December is historically the strongest time for stocks.

Related: How investors should handle the raging bull marketFinancial Post

Next year won’t be as easy for investors – Reuters

“The market finally feels comfortable about not having a meaningful correction (this year), that it’s OK not to, as we enter a traditionally strong time of the year,” Ryan Detrick with Schaeffer’s Investment Research told Dow Jones Newswires.

Meanwhile, Canadian inflation figures released on Friday showing prices for goods and services almost stagnant in September are further reinforcing expectations that the Bank of Canada won’t be raising interest rates anytime soon.

Higher official interest rates set the benchmark for other lending rates, which can increase the cost of borrowing for consumers and businesses.

While U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for U.S. Thanksgiving and open only half a day on Friday, there will still be some economic reports to digest.

Also, while more difficult to quantify in the short run, how retailers fare on “Black Friday” – the first shopping day after Thanksgiving named in honour of retailers’ sales finally going into the black – will be closely watched by investors.

Here’s what to watch for this week:

Monday: No economic reports in Canada, and one in the U.S.: October’s pending home sales, to be released at 10 am ET.

Tuesday: Another no-release day in Canada, but a bevy of U.S. numbers to digest, starting with ICSC same-store sales for the week ended November 23, due out at 7;45 am ET, followed by September and October housing starts and building permits at 8:30 am ET, September and third-quarter results from the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the FHFA House Price Index and 9 am ET, and the Conference Board’s November consumer confidence reading at 10 am ET.

Wednesday: In Canada, September’s survey of employment, payrolls and hours will be released at 8:30 am ET; in the U.S., initial jobless claims for the week ended November 23 and durable goods orders for October will both be released at 8:30 am ET, followed by the Chicago PMI for November at 9:45 am ET, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for November at 9:55 am ET, and leading indicators for October at 10 am ET.

Thursday: A few reports in Canada to watch for, including the third-quarter current account balance reading, as well as October’s industrial product and raw materials price indexes, all due at 8:30 am ET. U.S. markets are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Friday: More action in Canada, with third-quarter real GDP figures and September real GDP at basic prices to be released at 8:30 am ET, and Ottawa’s September Fiscal Monitor also on tap. U.S. markets are open for a half-day in what is traditionally very light trading.

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11.25.13: Looking for a stock market pullback? Don't bother this year …

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