What a terrific test of the bulls. They survived a French downgrade. They survived a hideous loss and scandal at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). They triumphed over an amazingly weak quarter at Best Buy (BBBY). And best of all, they beat back a huge, futures-led decline after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the obvious, that he couldn't revive an economy that drives over a fiscal cliff.
How were we able to rally so effectively? Simple: First, the potential cease-fire in the Middle East removed an oil overhang that can always kill any rally in its tracks. Second, we are now getting a picture of a U.S. economy that's stronger -- not weaker -- than expected, largely because of the resurgent housing market.
Further, we are actually getting a very interesting research moment. Every morning, I put together the relevant stories I want to cover. That includes a roundup of the important research notes.
Ever since this decline accelerated last week, the bulk of the analyst commentary has become positive, not negative. It is almost as if there is a pact among the analysts to stop bashing stocks and start looking at them through a more positive prism. It's a brand-new phenomenon, and I think it is really helping the market.
That, plus the recognition of China as a positive force of good, not a negative force of bad, something that Doug Kass believes in too.
When the bulls in research come out en masse, they can stem declines on their own. My question is, what happens if we get some genuinely good news about the cliff, or Europe or earnings, unmitigated terrific news? I think we'd go much higher.