Market Melt Up!

Melt up! Moan all you want about the low volume — the S&P 500 is up five days in a row. The big-cap indexes are at new highs.

And the laggards are starting to catch up.

I have noted that small-cap indexes (Russell 2000, S&P 600), and cyclicals (transports, industrials, materials) have lagged in March; instead consumer names have moved ahead.

But today transports, small caps and cyclicals are the leaders.

And look at the news: Nomura, Deutsche Bank raise GDP estimates on China, Bank of Japan says global economy is improving, German business confidence highest since mid-2010.

Small data points, but positive.

And what's up with this headline: retail sales strong, gasoline not an impediment. Huh? What happened to high gas prices killed the recovery story?

But retail sales rose a respectable 1.1 percent in February, and January was revised higher.

Several firms raised forecasts for Q1 GDP growth on the stronger retail sales: Goldman Sachs (2.0 percent), Morgan Stanley (1.3 percent), and Macroeconomic Advisors (2.1 percent).

Still, high gas prices will definitely be an issue if this continues. Don't say fuel prices aren't an issue for airlines: Southwest Airlines said it would not turn a profit this quarter because fuel costs, at $3.50 per gallon, were 15 cents higher than forecast.

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