(Read more: Taper tease? Market worries Fed will end easing)
Kathy Jones, fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab, said she still expects the Fed to wait until the March meeting, which would be the first chaired by Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who was nominated by President Obama to replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
"This is them being cautious and saying we're standing pat right now," she said. "It'd be really tough to make a move here. They don't have good economic data…It would really be kind of odd for them to have done anything."
Markets enter the final day of October trading, with solid gains for a month that is seen as typically among the worst. The Dow is up 3.2 percent, and the S&P is up 4.9 percent.
Strategists, while noting a number of red flags, say there's now a good chance the market could be carried higher into year end.
"I think at this point everyone has baked in that we're going to get up to the end of the year, so people are buying into that," said McMillan. "...the market is up so much who wants to be out of the party?"
The market is being supported by the Fed but is also going up while future earnings may prove to be too weak to ultimately support it, McMillan said. He said the market has been setting up for a sell off.
"I think it's overvalued. We're overdue for a significant one," he said. "That said, I don't think that's necessarily going to happen."
There is some data to watch Thursday and plenty of earnings. Weekly jobless claims are released at 8:30 a.m., and Chicago PMI is expected at 9:45 a.m. Earnings expected before the open include Exxon Mobil, MasterCard, Royal Dutch Shell, Avon Products, Cigna, Clorox, Discovery Communication and Time Warner Cable. AIG, Newmont Mining, First Solar, Northeast Utilities, Public Storage and Fluor report after the close.
—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow here on Twitter @pattidomm.