NEW YORK (Real Money) -- We are in one of those "now-what" moments, as in, okay, we have had this record run and now, what do we want? What has to happen next to solidify the run and what can roll it back?
The fact is, however, we don't know what we want right now.
Let me go over why things are so muddled.
We all know that the U.S. economy is too hot to maintain these low rates.
But, perhaps because of the weather, February is looking like it was a very weak month for the economy. Autos, we now know, were far below expectations. I can only imagine how horrendous housing sales were, given the harsh weather conditions over most of the days that would qualify as house-hunting opportunities.
I doubt there will be a retailer that makes the comps, but fortunately most don't report comps anymore.
So, what does that mean for Friday's employment number? I think if it is a strong one, the narrative will be: "The Fed has to raise rates precisely at the moment when the economy is headed back down again."
That's the volatility spike that Mark Sebastian, our VIX expert, traced out to me on Mad Money on Tuesday night. That's the one where we have some extreme and most likely extremely negative behavior in the stock market in anticipation of Yellen raising rates when nothing in actuality should be done because February was not strong.
Then we have oil. As long as oil was falling, things were terrific for the domestic economy and we could see some tailwinds coming in Europe from it. Now there had been this undercurrent that if oil falls too low, we could be in trouble, but the easy access to the equity markets from even the weakest oils tells you not to worry about that.
In truth, though, the bigger issue, the bigger worry for this market, is a possible INCREASE in oil that could occur and the concomitant spike in gasoline, which would be poorly received by the consumer right on top of a weak February.
In other words, this market needs lower oil, but the oil market's not complying.
We need better earnings to keep lifting us higher from these levels. But have you looked at the earnings calendar?
Wake me up in a month. There's nothing there but a smattering of companies with very low impact. We are flying earnings blind.
And we need more deals. The takeover market has put the fear of hedge fund failure into the shorts. But you need a constant drumbeat of deals. We got the NXP (NXP) - Get Report-Freescale (FSL) deal, and that had a huge ripple impact. However, after this run you need to feed the beast. You need more than just one big one. You need multiple deals.
Right now, we just don't have enough we like going on, and we have things we don't like -- weak autos, homes, retail -- that are simply not what you need after this historic run.
The bulls' best hope? Churning until we get better weather and better retail sales.
The bears' best hope? Arguably, what we've got at this moment: a couple of huge data points like an employment number and a big Fed meeting that are both going to bring out more sellers than buyers, the essence of why we can go down again without any important news providing the spur of selling.
Or, as I used to say at my old hedge fund when I would look at my sheets, see tons of longs and say to nobody in particular: "I don't like the setup."
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 5:52 a.m. EST on Real Money on March 4.
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At the time of publication, Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS held no positions in stocks mentioned.