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What Will Move Markets Higher?

I wish every day was a LinkedIn day...I had to check my iPhone to see what year it was this morning....2011 or 1999? Felt like 1999 with all the excitement.

But it's not 1999. I can tell it's 2011 the minute I look at the economic stats: they're awful.

Not the housing numbers: we know they're awful. It's the other numbers that are worrying me. Capacity utilization. Industrial Production. And today, the Philly Fed. Even Leading Indicators were below expectations.

Say hello to the Soft Patch. Dead money. Not really negative, but not really positive. No one seems willing to bid the market up. The rally has stalled. We are not falling, it's not the end of the world, but there is certainly no rush to get back into the market.

You can see everyone getting more defensive...drop materials, add Pepsi and healthcare. Lower beta.

Still, the market's had a good run; can't really complain that much.

Odd thing: earnings have been great. Q1 came in up 19 percent, Street was looking for 13 percent at the beginning of the quarter. Of course, the worry is slower growth and slower earnings, but the Street is still estimating the S&P 500 will still earn $100 for the full year. They are not taking the numbers down. Not yet.

I know. Analysts are notoriously slow to cut.

What will move things up? Maybe Q2 earnings will do it. But my bet is, more clarity on where the Fed goes post QE2. They are not going to walk away, and I think a lot of traders are betting on that.

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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