Patti Domm is CNBC executive news editor, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy. Prior to joining CNBC in 1999 as senior news editor, Domm was the equities editor for the Americas at Reuters. She was also Wall Street editor at Reuters, reporting on mergers, acquisitions and the Street. She also edited three CNBC books on personal investing. Domm serves on the board of the Financial Womens Association of New York.
Weekly jobless claims and retailers' monthly sales reports combine to challenge stocks Thursday and will likely paint a picture of a consumer still very much under pressure.
Better economic news keeps biting into the dollar, and it could for awhile. That trend is also propelling stocks, and on Monday, the S&P 500, the Dow and Nasdaq all closed sharply higher. They also all cracked big round numbers, with the Dow finishing up 1.25 percent higher at 9286, its first close above 9200 since November.
Stocks have a good chance of drifting higher in the week ahead, giving the year a bullish finale.
Friday may not see another stock market rally, but stocks are moving higher.
Crude oil futures fell sharply, signaling traders that the selling is not over.
The Fed may have helped prime the stock market for a Santa rally, if oil remains calm and there are no new flare-ups overseas.
Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.
A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
CNBC's Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
JeeYeon Park is a writer for CNBC.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC
Rick Santelli joined CNBC Business News as an on-air editor in 1999, reporting live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.
Senior Producer at CNBC's Breaking News Desk.