There's also some "sell the news" risk out there, at least when it comes to the major U.S. equity averages, which are all sitting on impressive year-to-date gains.
The economic recovery remains slow -- a prerequisite for QE3 -- and corporate profit growth is topping out so there may not be much more room to run once investors get the accommodation they've been craving. Especially when factoring in the uncertainty presented by the presidential election in November and the fiscal cliff.
UBS thinks a pullback for the broad market is in order. The firm reiterated its year-end target of 1375 for the S&P 500 this week, noting the soft data and reduced earnings expectations coming out of second-quarter reporting season as well as its belief that the reality of more quantitative easing won't be enough to support another spike higher.
"While stocks continue to advance on hopes for additional asset purchases, we believe that investors will ultimately be disappointed," the firm said.Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, painted a much more bullish scenario though. He believes the recent pullback from overbought conditions when the S&P 500 reached a multi-year high of 1426 in intraday action on Aug. 21 has set the broad market up nicely for another run to new highs. "If the pullback is over, we see the S&P 500 breaking to new recovery highs above 1,422 over the next week or two," Stovall wrote late Wednesday. "We think a break to new recovery highs will force some bearish investors to throw in the towel, adding fuel to the equity rally. We think the next big rally could carry the index up to 1,500+ over the next two months." Of Draghi and the ECB, Stovall said he's expecting a rate cut, a plan to purchase short-term notes, and some clarity on how subordination issues will be handled with respect to the central bank's bond purchases. He doesn't think the ECB will introduce a yield-cap plan for the debt of countries like Italy and Spain though. Stovall is expecting the Fed to come through with QE3 on Sept. 13 unless the August jobs report comes in much stronger than anticipated on Friday, and offered this take on the recent market mood.