US STOCKS-Small-caps rise, but trend still lower

Fri Oct 3, 2014 10:28am EDT
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK Oct 3 (Reuters) - Small-cap stocks were higher on Friday, boosted by a strong payroll report which pointed to improving economic conditions, but the trend in the group was still negative, with some analysts hesitant to jump in even after recent declines.

The Russell 2000 rose 1 percent on Friday, its second straight day of a gain of that magnitude, but it remains on track for a fifth straight weekly decline. The index has shed 5.7 percent over that period, and earlier this week it fell more than 10 percent from its record close, momentarily putting the index into correction territory.

"Small-caps are trading well below technical support, and while at some point that will represent a buying opportunity, valuations still aren't a screaming buy and we don't think this is the best time to step in," said Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial in Bethesda.

The Russell is about 1.5 percent below its 14-day moving average, a sign that near-term momentum has been weak.

The S&P 600 small-cap index rose 0.9 percent on Friday, as was the S&P 400 mid-cap index.

Index snapshot at 1023 EDT:

* S&P 500 was up 18.67 points, or 0.96 percent.

* Nasdaq Comp was up 47.40 points, or 1.07 percent.   Continued...