Stocks have been rallying all day, still trying to understand why, exactly. It’s almost as if the more squishy data that pile up, the more the bulls like it. Consider the following:
- Last Friday, January core CPI reading fell for the first time in 28 years. Seems like an unsettling tell on real demand.
- So far this week, regional manufacturing reports from the Dallas and Richmond Feds show a lot less traction for the economic recovery than indicated by 4Q GDP.
- Conference Board’s February consumer confidence badly tanked yesterday, with the present situation index sinking to a 27-year low. That one hurt, but bulls have shaken it off pretty well.
-Also out yesterday, FDIC’s quarterly banking profile, with a host of its own historic negatives, like industry assets’ largest percentage decline in a year “since the inception of the FDIC” in the 1930s; highest quarterly net charge-off rate reported by the industry in at least 26 years; highest proportion of unprofitable institutions in any year since at least 1984; and a 16-year high 702 banks on the “problem” list.
- Throw in comments from Alan Greenspan, who called the recovery “extremely unbalanced,” and made the assertion that the financial crisis was worse than that of the Great Depression. San Fran Fed’s Yellen said Monday 4Q GDP “overstates the underlying momentum in the economy” as sales to customers remains “lackluster.”
-And finally, January new home sales, which “unexpectedly” hit an all-time low. Stocks wobbled on that one, but quickly — one might say amazingly — regained their composure.
Quite a stew of bitters there, yet stocks seem impervious, with investors apparently laser-focused on the notion that the Fed will keep the easy money flowing. Is it any wonder why a guy like Charles Biderman at Trim Tabs would question what’s been driving stocks up, nearly non-stop, for almost a year now?
Perhaps it’s days like this. DJIA up 83; Nasdaq gains 19; S&P 500 up 9.