Historic Highs Feel Like Distant Memory

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Whew. That was close. For a moment right at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, with the Dow down nearly 120 points, it looked like we were again sinking into the west, and fast ... but the markets turned around.

Friday is an options expiration day, which may account for some of the late-day swing, but let's face it: It was another day when economic reports came in below expectations, this time from the April Philly Fed, and March Leading Indicators.

This is really getting to be a pattern.

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It's easy to see why stocks should be weaker: We have had a string of economic numbers that have missed, earnings are flat quarter over quarter, and there is talk of deflation again.

What is clear is that a lot of marquee names are getting mauled this week, and I don't just mean Apple at a new low.

Caterpillar, for example, is at its lowest level since July.

Bank of America is now negative for the year.

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Then there are the big biotech guys. Stocks that have been going up all year have suddenly halted: Amgen , Biogen Idec, Gildead, Celgene. Not going down, just halted.

Still, don't kid yourself: Many would like to see a pullback. A lot of funds have missed this rally and wouldn't mind getting in at a lower price.

How far we have come in a week! It seems like that historic high for the S&P 500 was 5 years ago, no? But it's not. Even with the decline this week, we're still only 3.5 percent off the historic high in the S&P 500, which occurred ... uh ... exactly one week ago.

By CNBC's Bob Pisani

  • 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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