Record highs belie light volume, toppy-looking IPO market

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Amid the hullabaloo of the and S&P 500 hitting record highs, markets have actually moved in a narrow range for the past week on light volume.

Bottom line: While buyers seem exhausted, there is no sign that holders are selling.

The one exception is high beta names, particularly internet names, which have declined this week, in a few cases on higher volume (, Groupon).

Still I don't see any sign that there is a major change in direction--in other words, a clear downtrend. Buyers continue to step in and buy on even the most minor of dips.

I might change my mind if we saw a little more significant drop. How much? The S&P's historic closing high was 1,791, way back on Monday (!), so a five percent drop would put it at 1,701, a mere 80 points away. Yet, given the narrow trading range we have been in, that seems like a long way off.


1) Is the initial public offering (IPO) market topping out? Three IPOS were postponed overnight: TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, Vital Therapies, and Ruthigen--all biotech firms. Are there too many biotech firms that have come to dip their toes into the water?

The IPO market is very sector driven, and there have been a ton of biotech IPOs this year. Watch this trend!

Liquified gas carrier Navigator Holdings (NVGS) did price 12 million shares at $19, at the high end of the $17-$19 price range.

Plant genomics company Evogene (EVGN) priced five million shares at $14.75 apiece, below the price talk. It opened at $15.50 The develop seeds for plants that are more resistant to drought, heat, disease, pests and insects.

2) The Bank of Japan (BOJ) left interest rates unchanged, but BOJ head Kuroda was very dovish in the press conference. He was optimistic the BOJ would meet its inflation target of two percent, and also said the U.S. and European economies were improving. The Nikkei 225 surged 1.9 percent to its highest level since May, even as the rest of Asia was down.

3) Retail earnings: Target reported third quarter earnings of 54 cents, below expectations of 63 cents, but revenues were also light.Target said its earnings fell below expectations because of higher than expected dilution related to its Canadian segment.

Sears posted a quarterly loss of $3.13 per share, less than the $3.39 per share loss expected by analysts. Same-store sales dropped four percent at Sears and 3.1 percent at Kmart.

Abercrombie & Fitch reported earnings of 52 cents, above expectations of a 45 cent gain, revenue just a bit below expectations. Same store sales guidance for the current quarter of a "low double digit" loss is disappointing.

Williams-Sonoma beat by three cents 58 cents. They raised full year revenue estimates to $4.29-$4.325 billion, but still below consensus of $4.34 billion.

By CNBC's Bob Pisani