Monday, March 11 15:53:13
Wall Street was little changed today as Italy's credit downgrade and disappointing Chinese economic data gave investors a reason to pause after last week's rally that took the Dow to record highs.
Even with the slight decline, the S and P 500 index was only about 1 percent away from its all-time closing high. U.S. stocks have seen a strong gain in the first three months of the year and pullbacks have been short lived as investors look for an opportunity to buy.
"There's a lot of pent-up demand and people seem to be buying on weakness," said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz and Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio.
"I don't see this as anything negative from the standpoint of what the market's done throughout 2013 so far."
The S&P is up 8.7 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Dow has climbed nearly 10 percent. Markets have been cheered by signs of improvement in the U.S. economic recovery, including recent unexpected strength in the labor market.
But a number of potential roadblocks are not far from investors' minds, including worries about the euro zone debt crisis after Fitch downgraded Italy due to the country's political stalemate.
Data over the weekend from China pointed to an uneven recovery for the world's second-largest economy as inflation rose to a 10-month high in February and factory output and consumer spending were weaker than forecast.