Stocks could march into record territory in the week ahead—unless the economy starts to look too strong, or then again, too weak.
Friday's April employment report was so so, showing a rebound in job growth to 223,000, but slower wage growth at just a tenth of a percent. That improvement over March's 85,000 jobs allayed some market concerns about a sluggish economy, but wage growth was just weak enough for traders to bet the Fed will hold off from raising interest rates a little longer.
"That puts stocks in a hard place, where good news could be bad and bad news could be bad ... I think it's a tight window for Goldilocks, given where earnings are," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Markets. "Goldilocks" is used to describe a market scenario where the data are not too strong to cause overheating, or in this case to encourage a Fed rate hike, or is not so weak as to signal a real economic slowdown.