The soft landing crowd is back. The consensus for 2023 has been extremely bearish going into the new year. But data is starting to accumulate that inflation is moderating and job growth as noted by the nonfarm payrolls report , the ADP private payrolls count, and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey , may slow but is still strong. Longer-term bond yields are declining, the dollar is again in a downtrend. "This is the definition of a soft landing," Apollo Global's chief economist Torsten Slok said on CNBC's " Closing Bell " on Friday. In Europe, inflation reports from Germany, Spain and France last week were also below expectations. The rally is partly due to positioning: because of the negative mood, stocks will move up more on good news than they go down on bad news. And the mood has been bearish, particularly among the retail crowd. "We did see buying interest in the Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Energy, Financial, and Real Estate sectors, but for the most part, clients net sold equities during the period," Shawn Cruz, head trading strategist at TD Ameritrade, said in a review of December trading by the firm's clients that is out today. "It's a fitting end to a year that exposed some significant headwinds to addressing the macroeconomic challenges impacting the markets, but it also leaves substantial room for optimism as we head into 2023," he added. Of course, inflation hasn't gone away. The price hikes at Conagra were crazy. The food producer reported prices jumped 17%, offsetting an 8% drop in volumes. Those price hikes more than made up for higher costs. We may be reaching the limits of price hikes, however: Constellation Brands said consumers are pushing back against beer price hikes. If December's consumer price index, out Thursday, is benign (below the 6.5% year over year growth expected), the market could move even higher. From there, we get into earnings season, which kicks off Friday with JPMorgan Chase . Here too, sentiment is very cautious, but not nearly as cautious as it was in the first half of 2022. Earnings estimates for the second half of 2022 and 2023 collapsed in the first half of 2022, going from $252 for 2023 in April of 2022 down to roughly $237 by October, Julian Emanuel from Evercore ISI said in a note to clients over the weekend. It's still dropping (about $230 Monday), but at a much slower rate. "Sentiment is not nearly as bleak (contrarian) as it was headed into 2Q22 and 3Q22 reports, and stocks and bonds are not dramatically oversold, as previously," he said.