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Why a 'Santa Claus rally' in July isn't out of the question

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Starting the second half of the year, there is the equivalent of a "Santa Claus rally." The market has delivered positive returns 72 percent of the time during the last two days of June and the first five days of July, according to Brooke Thackray, author of "Thackray's Seasonal Investment Guide."

Longer term, it's pretty clear what we need in the second half: more growth. Equities are pricing in a robust second half of gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Estimates are all over the place, but most traders seem to be counting on at least 3.5 percent growth for the next two quarters.

Meanwhile, U.S. economic data is still mixed. There's a gap between manufacturing numbers(which are very healthy) and other metrics (GDP, durable goods), but for the moment that market is believing the good news.

Speaking of manufacturing, China's June PMI was in line with expectations, but definitely showing improvement at 50.7, up from 49.4 in May, but the new orders components was the strongest in 15 months. Copper is at a 3-month high, as China consumes about 40 percent of the world's supply.


Elsewhere

1) World Cup moves the world. Traders are again arranging their evening social plans around the U.S.—Belgium soccer game, scheduled to start at 4 PM Eastern. One trader friend refused to have dinner with me unless I could demonstrate that the place had a TV that would carry the game (I am working on a sworn affadvavit from the head bartender).

Overnight, it was reported that gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.7 percent in June year-over-year, the first decline in more than four years. The blame is being placed squarely on the World Cup, which it is claimed has diverted gamblers away from the gaming tables.

Macau's loss is Britain's gain, apparently. Ladbrokes, one of the world's largest gaming houses, has recently integrated PayPal into the mobile version of their site.

2) A trader mentioned this morning that by his count General Motors has recalled more cars in the last six months that they have made in the last three years. Not quite, but it's close. CNBC's Phil Lebeau says that GM has sold between 9.3 and 9.6 million vehicles worldwide each of the last three years: That's roughly 28 million, just shy of the total number of vehicles recalled worldwide this year. The latter stands at 28.96 million.

3) Initial public offerings are still pricing, though it's been a relatively quiet week. Two, however, did price on the NASDAQ overnight: Louisiana commercial bank Investar Holding (ISTR) priced 2.8 million shares at $14, below the $15 to $17 range, and biotech Minerva Neurosciences priced 5.4 million shares at $6, in line with the downwardly revised price talk.

--By CNBC's 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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