“There is no such thing as failure, there's just giving up too soon.” ― Jonas Salk

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After Nvidia ($NVDA) took markets on a wild ride last week, much of this week was somewhat more range-bound. Nevertheless, stocks continued their advance. The Nasdaq hit an all-time high close on Thursday, breaking a record set in 2021, then set a fresh record on Friday. The S&P 500 also reached new highs, and on Thursday it celebrated Leap Day by extending its monthly win streak to four. 

With the bulk of earnings season now behind us, investors resumed focusing on inflation data and what the Federal Reserve’s response might be. This week, the main macro data arrived via Thursday’s release of the January PCE Deflator reading. 

Two weeks ago, markets sank on higher-than-expected January CPI numbers, even though January seasonal surges in inflation readings are not unusual. CPI tends to foreshadow PCE, so although Core PCE MoM came in on Thursday at 0.4% – the biggest monthly jump since January 2023, the reading was roughly in line with Street expectations, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both rose afterward. To Lee, this was further evidence of market strength. “There were no major revelations in the PCE numbers, but the market's reaction tells ...

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