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Stocks shoot for new records, but data suggests otherwise

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Investors are trying to get the S&P 500 Index through 2000 again, but I'm not sure there is a catalyst to keep it there given Tuesday's mixed data.

The headline on U.S. durable goods orders was fantastic—up 22.6 percent in July. However, this is why economists strip out transports: non-defense aircraft orders up 318 percent (hello Boeing!), but excluding that, the data underneath were disappointing. The ex-transport figure was down 0.8 percent, versus expectations of a gain, tempered a bit by June's strong upward revision.

Separately, Case-Shiller's read on U.S. home prices rose 8.1 percent, the second straight month of a single digit rise.

Elsewhere

1. The next wildcard statement could come from European Central Bank head Mario Draghi on how they are going to put together some type of quantitative easing (QE) program, when there are constraints on how much sovereign debt the ECB can buy. They can loan money to the national banks at zero (or near zero) ratesassuming that the banks are buying the debt, which appears to be the case. That said, there are likely limits on how levered up they can get, which may be why Spanish bond yields at 2.2 percent.

2. You can't help but cheer a bit for Best Buy, which reported earnings today. Everyone has assumed its dead, but it's proven to be a scrappy fighter, rising from $25 to $30 in the past three months.

Unfortunately, the numbers are not what the bulls were hoping for. Best Buy reported earnings per share of 44 cents, well above expectations of 31 cents. But most of that was cost savings. Revenues were light, and same store sales were down 2.7 percent, below expectations. Online sales were up 22 percent year over year, but store traffic appears to be declining. Guidance for the second half is below estimates, and margins are improving only slightly.

Some bulls are hopeful that Apple's iPhone 6 launch will make a material difference.

--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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