Wall Street's bulls are still running but they are no thundering herd heading into Thursday's market.
Thursday promises to be ruled by the economic data du jour, and the rise and fall of the price of a barrel of oil. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at 9:30 a.m. at the Chicago Fed's conference on bank structure and competition. Bernanke's topic is risk management at banking organizations.
There's a few important headlines to watch Thursday morning, including weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m.; Empire state survey at 8:30 a.m.; the Philadelphia Fed survey at 10 a.m., and industrial production at 9:15 a.m. The Treasury releases international capital data at 9 a.m.
The Dow Wednesday wilted after a triple digit rally on better-than-expected consumer inflation data. It closed 66 points higher at 12,898, while the S&P 500 moved up 5.62 to 1,408.66.
"They let the air out of the balloon a little bit. I think it was overdone ... The high-fiving on the CPI overlooks the fact it was very much about a seasonal adjustments," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS. Cashin points to the 2 percent decline in gasoline in the report, while gasoline prices actually rose.
"It was a little bit like the Emperor's new clothes. They started out with the rally, and I think there was some momentum playing here. We got very close to the 200 day moving averages ... The bulls were trying to run it, and when it didn't catch fire, it petered out," he said.
Cashin said he is looking for the S&P 500 to move above 1,422-23. "They did a double top very recently at that level. That would be the spot you want to see them punch through," he said. Cashin will be watching the Philly Fed data Thursday.
Oil Wednesday was weaker, losing $1.58 or 1.3 percent to $124.22. Natural gas though rose 1.5 percent to $11.598 per million BTUs. Natural gas inventory data is released at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
The dollar gained 0.11 percent against the euro, reaching $1.5461 per euro.
Stocks in the News
J.C. Penney reports earnings before the bell, as do Blackstone , Blockbuster and Urban Outfitters . Nordstrom and Kohl's report after the bell.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is going ahead with his proxy battle to unseat Yahoo's board. The Wall Street Journal reports that General Electric , the parent of CNBC, is looking to auction off its appliance business. The newspaper said GE hired Goldman Sachs and the unit could fetch $8 billion.
CNBC's Mike Huckman calls it the prom for biotech. It's the ASCO conference and some 5,000 studies will go on line at 9 p.m. Thursday ahead of the weekend event. This mass of scientific research has usually been released selectively but now its available for the world to view, and apparently many an analyst will pull an all nighter ahead of Friday's trading day. Stay tuned.