Here's why the stock market melted up

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks rally big. Why the melt-up? Some of this may be hedge fund desperation.

It's odd, because on the surface there is really no reason for the Dow Transports to be up 3.1 percent, or the NASDAQ to be up 2.4 percent, or the S&P 500 to be up 1.9 percent.

Oh, I know the story, I've been saying it for the last two days: 1) Fed is perceived to remain dovish, along with the ECB, which will start to get creative with expanding its balance sheet, 2) oil has stabilized and 3) Ebola fears have eased.

Does this mean the coast is clear? Of course not.

The incubation period for Ebola is over for those 43 or so people in Dallas. Great news, but it could pop up somewhere else.

Oil has been stable for a few days in the low $80's, but a peep out of Saudi Arabia and we could be in the $70's in a nanosecond.

And all we need is for the Fed, at its meeting next week, to end QE 3 AND simultaneously remove the line saying they will keep interest rates low "for a considerable period" and stocks could quickly have another period of indigestion.

Here's another problem: there are 9 weeks left in the year. And I think hedge funds are panicking. Again.

A lot of hedge funds need to get invested again...that's right, a lot of them puked out the S&P at 1820 (the low last Wednesday), and are clearly buying it back today at 1930. They need to buy stock because they are dramatically underperforming. So say a fund is down 4 percent on the year and to have any chance to do anything, they have to buy stock. They are FORCED to buy stock. Nine weeks could be a career in the hedge fund business.

That means stocks could easily rise for another few days while funds play catch up.

What about earnings? A lot has been made about the disappointments from Coke (KO),McDonald's (MCD) and IBM (IBM). But it doesn't mean the economy is weak, it means these behemoths are losing some share to competitors.

In Coke's case, it is Pepsi (PEP). Coke had a slump in sales, but Pepsi made very optimistic comments earlier this month, raising its full year forecast, partly because of its snacks business. But they did not blame the global economic slowdown on anything.

In McDonald's case, smaller competitors like Chipotle (CMG) have been chipping away at market share. Chipotle's same-store sales were up 20 percent this quarter, McDonald's were down 3.3 percent.

  • Bob Pisani

    A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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