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Stocks End Indecisively, General Electric Rises, Key Trends You Need to Watch

While the stock market finds its footing, a smart investor can position his or her portfolio with confidence. See Thursday's trends.

The stock market couldn't make up its mind Thursday, but that doesn't mean investors have to be indecisive. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 79.11 points, or 0.29%. The S&P 500 fell 53 points, or 0.02%. 

Investors are grappling with trade issues, and the direction of trade relations between the U.S. and China. Meanwhile, Brexit also remains a key issue. With no catalyst driving markets in one direction or the other, and U.S. stocks seeming to bounce from their year lows, the market teetered between falling and rising all day. 

There's one trend investors should notice, as they build their portfolios for 2018. Cyclical stocks haven't done well in the past month or so, while defensive ones have. The Invesco Consumer Discretionary S&P U.S. Select Sector ETF is down 0.91% in the past month. The Invesco Consumer Staples S&P U.S. Select Sector ETF is up 1.33% in the past month. That's a key trend to keep watching as many expect the economy to slow in 2019. 

And it seems every day that there isn't a huge market rally, it's Procter and Gamble Co. (PG) leading the Dow Jones. Procter and Gamble rose 2.61% to $96.49 a share, easily beating the Dow for the day. It's up 3.2% in the last month. 

General Electric Co. (GE) rose 7.3% Thursday, after a less bearish note from a consistently bearish analyst came out. Analyst Steven Tusa of JPMorgan thinks much of the downside for GE is priced into the stock

RealMoney's Kevin Curran was all over GE Thursday. 

Weighing on stocks longer-term is the flattening yield curve. Think that doesn't matter? See why it does matter here