Trader Talk

Here's why to be optimistic about stocks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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The is up 1.2 percent in the past two days. I know, big deal, but believe it or not it's the best two-day rally since April 15-16.

Pretty meager, eh? That's why I called 2014 "the year of the chop" this morning. Up one day, down the next, and mostly in a very narrow trading range, even on an intraday basis. And in the last month, volume has been lighter than usual on most days.

So what's the rest of the summer going to look like?

Remember what has been holding back markets this year: 1) choppy economic data, partly weather induced, 2) emerging market concerns, and 3) global tensions, largely Ukraine-Russia.

But there is some reason for optimism.

Russia/Ukraine tensions have eased for the moment.

And today, the iShares Emerging Market ETF (EEM) is poised to close at its highest level since October. It's up 3.1 percent this year, outperforming the S&P 500's 2.5 percent gain.

That brings us back to the choppy economic data. Earnings were hardly inspiring for the first quarter, up roughly 3.3 percent.

But even here there is some reason for optimism: Q2 revisions have been fairly mild, with the exception of a few retailers. So what? That is a sign that CEOs are not anticipating a disaster. There are bulls--like Nick Raich at The Earnings Scout--who believe growth is highly likely to re-accelerate based on the modest earnings revisions.

And don't make light of a two-day rally. The S&P is sitting right near its historic closing high of 1897. The point: Yes, the choppy market is maddening for professional traders, but we are choppy at historic highs.