Negative economic growth in the fourth quarter provided a scary headline to start Wednesday's trading but probably little else in market impact.
In the best light, the headline drop of 0.1 percent in gross domestic product masked stronger internals regarding consumer and business spending as well as progress in the housing recovery. (Read More: GDP Shows Surprise Drop for US in Fourth Quarter)
At its worst, the bad news merely provides more cover for a Federal Reserve intent on churning out stimulus until it determines the economy can survive on its own.
"I don't think this negative number is going to have much legs," said Jim Paulsen, chief market strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis.
The darker scenario, in fact, is actually bullish for stocks, which have ridden the wave of $3 trillion in central bank liquidity to eclipse five-year highs and push towards a new record.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "has to keep the economy high as a kite. He has to make sure we don't sober up and realize how screwed up we are," said Peter Schiff, founder and CEO at Euro Pacific Capital in New York. "We don't have a real recovery. It's an illusion, it's a drug-induced high. The minute you take away the drugs we come down. We can't stop easing, ever." (Watch: Why Doesn't Fed Ease Off Stimulus?)
Schiff is concerned that a recession looms that will dwarf the financial crisis woes, a condition he attributes to an overzealous Fed that should stop creating money and generating inflation.
"The next recession we go into will be even worse than the one we came out of," he said. "We didn't do anything right."