NEW YORK (Real Money) -- If it weren't for this week's Federal Reserve meeting, is there any doubt in your mind that the market wouldn't be appreciably higher? Think about what has happened in the last few days. We've had several terrific analyst meetings and presentations that have told us things were going well or improving in banking and in retail.
Remember that full-day Home Depot (HD) meeting in which management indicated that things are much better than expected? Recall that sit-down I did with Macy's (M) CEO Terry Lundgren, who said the holiday season's going well, something echoed by Manny Chirico at PVH (PVH)?
How about this? There isn't just one takeover in the air -- there are two. Reports say Charter Communications (CHTR) will soon make an offer on Time Warner Cable (TWC), and word also has it that Sprint (S) is considering a bid on T-Mobile (TMUS). For each of these, both the potential acquirer and the potential target have been climbing higher in the process.
Or how about that the biggest fear of January, the potential for a government shutdown, has been taken off the table? Isn't that huge? How about the idea that we won't be looking at a U.S. debt default because the ceiling might be raised by Republicans, who are giddy with the health care snafus and don't need to try to rein in costs in a losing effort that would only hurt sales, corporate profits and therefore the stock market? Nothing's a done deal in Washington, but there does seem to be a short-term cessation in rancor -- perhaps until the election?But it really doesn't matter, does it? All that people really think they care about is the Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday. If the central bank changes its tone -- if it says the Fed is getting close to slowing bond buying, and that it has accomplished much of what it thought it could accomplish -- then, to read the blogs and listen to the commentators, we will see an immediate decline of some magnitude. What magnitude? Judging by the chatter, it would seem to merit at least 5%, no? The real question is: How could it not? How could this most talked-about event when it comes to the stock market not produce that kind of decline? If it doesn't, can I ask you, what was the point of the whole dialogue?