There are lots of reasons to like the stock market and lots of reasons not to like it. By the end of the year they may just balance out and yield a big, giant nothing.
That's the view of analysts at Stifel Nicolas, who have long held a bullish view that is now becoming more cautious. Though it's out of consensus for the otherwise strongly bullish sentiment from Wall Street watchers, trading so far in 2014 certainly seems to bolster the flat-market argument. Stifel joins Deutsche Bank and Jim Paulsen at Wells Capital Management in a small crowd of analysts projecting little net change this year.
"The "static" tug-of-war between reflation & deflation is misleading," Stifel strategist Barry B. Banister said in an analysis. "We expect that by the time 2014 ends, a break one way or the other is coming."
(Read more: Dick Bove sees recession, 7% rate...in a few years)
In fact, Banister believes market weakness is likely to persist through the year as stimulus efforts from the Federal Reserve lose their bite and investors are no longer willing to pay higher prices for stocks. He cites 10 reasons for his conclusion: