Will Santa squeak in a rally before the ball drops?
Early moves suggest it could happen: Stocks continued to rise Tuesday, adding to the more than 2-percent gainlogged on Wednesday.
The U.S. bond market closed early today. The stock market is open until its usual time, 4 p.m.
Of course, investors are already turning to 2009, visions of a recovery dancing in their heads.
And, while the pros disagree on when it will happen, they agree on one thing: It will. So start buying.
"You get in now," Bret Wilsey, president of Wilsey Asset Management, told CNBC. "I don’t know when it’s going to go but if I can get a 30% plus return ... by January 2010, I’ll be very happy," he said. "But I’d be afraid of missing it and waiting too long."
Steve Grasso from Stuart Frankel added, "I think you’ve got probably a couple of months left to make sure you don’t miss the rally."
The last economic data point of the year was a mixed bag: Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 94,000last week to 492,000, the largest drop since 1992. Economists had expected a drop, but only about 21,000. However, continuing claims for unemployment benefits hit 4.506 million, the highest since 1982.
In early trading, the three biggest gainers on the Dow were Alcoa , Caterpillar and Boeing . The bottom three were Citigroup , JPMorgan and General Motors .
GM's stock took a hit following news that its GMAC financing arm may not have enough capital to become a bank-holding company.
Retail stocks got an after-Christmas present from investors, with Jones New York , Nordstrom and Macy's leading the S&P 500. Tiffany wasn't far behind.
>> See how retailers fared this season at CNBC's Holiday Central.
Motorola shares rose after the handset maker said it will lay off 400 more employeesin the fourth quarter than it originally planned, resulting in additional charges. In October, Motorola said it would lay off 1,500 people in the fourth quarter.