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The weak momentum seen in equity markets is starting to trouble Dennis Gartman, the editor and publisher of the "The Gartman Letter," who believes that it might be the right time to take some risk off the table.
U.S. stocks erased record-setting gains on Thursday afternoon, turning lower in a late-session shift despite the European Central Bank's (ECB) unexpected announcement of rate cuts and a bond-buying program. European stock markets were also signaling a lower open on Friday and this has left Gartman dismayed that ECB President Mario Draghi hasn't caused more of a pop for stocks.
"In the States we opened up strongly, higher, finished the day lower, you should never see that sort of activity," he told CNBC Friday.
"That causes me a great deal of concern. I've been very bullish of stocks, perhaps it's time not to be quite so bullish."
Often used as a global benchmark for stocks, the S&P 500 managed to close above the 2,000 point level for the first time on record last week. This landmark also marked a 200 percent return for the S&P 500 since hitting a 2009 low of 666 points in March of that year.
Many economists believe that the buoyancy in the markets has been due to extra liquidity that central banks have pumped into the economy alongside record low interest rates in the hope that it would stimulate borrowing. But after more than five years of equity markets seemingly on an unstoppable course, some analysts are concerned that valuations have become stretched.
The next big catalyst for traders could be the U.S. nonfarm payrolls number released on Friday. Economists expect steady job growth—225,000 new jobs and a slight drop in the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters. Gartman is expecting a "very good number" of around 250,000 new jobs but he told CNBC that he pays very little attention to the numbers due to its "inordinate volatility."
Job growth has been above the 200,000 number for the past six months and another stellar number could add to a picture of a strengthening U.S. economic story. But Marius Paun and Jonathon Sudaria, two dealers at brokerage Capital Spreads believe that markets could still push higher even with more disappointing news.
"Coupled with the run of good economic data out of the U.S., even if we get a weak number, I'm sure the bulls will be able to shrug it off and post yet more record highs," said in a morning note on Friday.
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