Energy funds, however, gapped down and turned sharply higher, underpinning the S&P 500’s strength.
Major indices pulled back in lethargic price action, with the Nasdaq-100 leading the downside while the Russell 2000 held just above the flatline.
A strong China number may trigger a European rally across the Atlantic, but the S&P 500 closed less than 15 points below the 11-month trendline resistance, which skews the reward.
The small-cap index, if successful in breaking above its current barrier, may benefit blue chips and big tech with a strong tailwind that could test 2015 highs.
The small-cap index has bounced at the 20-day simple moving average for five consecutive sessions. A weekly high test may come Wednesday.
However, the group should bounce strongly in the next few days, perhaps taking out last week’s highs in order to punish short sellers who have reloaded positions.
They drifted into the red, reinforcing waning momentum that brings this week’s rally into doubt.
Both sectors pointed to cyclical selling pressure, matching overnight action in Europe.
Dow Jones Transportation Average left out of recovery rally.