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.
After a strong third quarter, economists are ratcheting up fourth-quarter growth forecasts but to a somewhat slower pace.
Year-end buying could push the Dow to 18,000, a psychological level that could give any Santa rally more steam.
OPEC talked down the oil market, sending crude sharply lower, while warm weather and growing supply hit nat gas prices.
As the Santa rally lifts stocks higher, Wall Street's expectations for 2015 gains have gotten slimmer.
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.