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Aruba, January 2012 - Stock market is calm — perhaps a little too so — and experts say big move might be in store.

NEW YORK — After wild price swings that left investors bewildered and not a cent richer last year, stocks are rising again, and calm has settled over the market like blue skies after a storm.
Or maybe eye of the storm is the better metaphor.
"It's a little too calm," says the usually unflappable Jim Paulsen of Wells Fargo Management, a bullish stock strategist not easily spooked. "Maybe we're setting up for a break."
Whether that break will bring a rise or fall in stocks, Paulsen is not sure. But he suspects it'll be big whichever direction.

For eight straight days, the Standard & Poor's 500 index has moved up or down less than 1 percent, a run that is both remarkable and a tad eerie. The last time stocks moved so little for so long was a 13-day streak starting last April 21 — just before a bumpy five-month drop to near bear-market lows.

Other curiosities, ominous or otherwise, from the first two weeks of the year:
• The hapless and helpless are hot. Netflix Inc., the DVD-by-mail and streaming entertainment company that enraged customers by raising rates, is up 36 percent. Bank of America is up 19 percent. Both lost more than half their value in 2011.
• The first is last. The best-performing of the S&P's 10 categories last year, utilities, is now the worst. Those stocks rose 15 percent last year but have fallen 3 percent this year. Investors apparently have decided they're too expensive. The second-best sector last year, consumer staples, is down 1.3 percent.

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