European markets strong, retailers mixed

While U.S. markets are up only fractionally this week, Europe is having another strong day. Most of the major European stock indices are posting gains between 0.5 to 1.0 percent this morning.

This week, Italy is up 2.8 percent, Spain up 2.8 percent, and Germany up 2.7 percent. Even Russia is up 2.3 percent, though it is essentially at a five-year low.

Standard and Poor's came out and was very negative on the current asset purchase programs, which are buying asset backed securities and covered bonds. S&P said the European Central Bank would need to increase the available pool of assets or the program would not have enough impact.

Read MoreHopes that $375 billion can boost European growth

Of course, that means buying bank bonds, other corporate debt, and sovereign bonds. But that is the whole can of worms that will ignite more push back from the Germans. We are waiting for a ruling from the European Court on whether the ECB has the legal status to purchase sovereign debt.


1) Retail earnings are mixed. Lowe's had a great quarter, 5.1 percent same store sales growth was close to the 5.8 percent reported by Home Depot Tuesday. Earnings were a penny above estimates, and revenue beat forecasts as well

Lowe's also raised its full-year forecast by 5 cents to $2.65, as well as its guidance for same store sales.

Read More Lowe's earnings, revenue top expectations

The problem I have with Lowe's stock is its expensive. It's at an historic high, trading at 22 times forward earnings.

Jack in the Box, which also owns Qdoba, reported same store sales up 3.1 percent for the fourth quarter, above expectations. The company echoed many restaurateurs, noting commodity inflation of 3.2 percent last quarter, but unlike most they were able to raise prices.

It is providing 2015 same store sales guidance of 1.5 to 2.5 percent growth. It's full-year guidance of $2.73 to $2.81 brackets the $2.81 consensus estimate.

Read MoreOK, Home Depot you tricked us … but why?

Staples reported earnings at 37 cents, a penny short, but more importantly a 12 percent decline from the same period last year. Comparable store sales were down 4 percent, the seventh straight drop. Traffic was down, and order size was flat. Staples is still closing stores. It's been a terrible performer for years.

La-Z-Boy reported adjusted quarterly earnings of 36 cents per share, two cents above estimates, though revenue did come in below forecasts. The furniture maker also raised its quarterly dividend by 33 percent to eight cents per share.

Target also reported great numbers, 54 cents per share versus guidance of 40 to 50 cents. Same store sales were up 1.2 percent, above guidance. Canadian same store sales were also up 1.6 percent. Fourth quarter guidance is slightly disappointing at $1.13 to $1.23, a bit below implied guidance of $1.22 to $1.32, but that is likely conservative.

Read More Target earnings beat, sending shares higher

Courtney Reagan will have an interview with the Target CEO at 12:15 p.m. ET on CNBC's Fast Money Halftime Report.

  • Bob Pisani

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

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