A Welcome Breather

 | Feb 22, 2013 | 12:08 PM EST
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Stock quotes in this article:

aig

,

hpq

,

txn

,

ba

,

cat

Always like it when the market catches its breath. I like it when it discerns stories: American International Group (AIG) better than expected, Texas Instruments (TXN) good dividend boost and buyback, Caterpillar (CAT) OK, not good enough to withstand the upgrade, but Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) cheap enough to stay strong. Boeing (BA) still rallying. Wal-Mart (WMT) enduring second-thought profit-taking.

When you see individual stories transcend the broader market, that means that people aren't reacting to "the big call," the sense that "everything's about to go kerflooey," the Gartner boom call, where he says to sell everything after he says he has been incredibly bullish.

The sweeping call is tough to make when the data aren't sweeping. The "buy on pullbacks" call that so many made was, and is, again met by "we need a bigger pullback." I like that, too.

I just want to point out that it is early. That the people who were scared out of their wits and don't want to give up the year's meager gains are scared out of their wits and don't want to give up meager gains.

So no victory dance yet. Instead, I would say you have an appreciably better moment to be able to sell than when you got the Gartner blast, so perhaps you should trim the mixed stuff and not buy yet. 

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