Real Story: Clearing the Bar

Expectations are low, helping the market rise above them. But NYSE floor trader Peter Costa says enthusiasm is missing.
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Friday's session embodied the "better than expected" theme of the week,

TheStreet.com's

editor-at-large Aaron Task says on Friday's

The Real Story podcast.

Raised guidance from

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

and

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

keyed Friday's gains, which left the

Dow

and

Nasdaq

up 0.3% for the week while the

S&P 500

rose 0.5%.

The week helped push major averages back above the levels seen prior to the big swoon on Feb. 27, yet a lot of skepticism remains, Task says.

Peter Costa, senior NYSE floor trader at Lipari Partners, agreed: "We've had some earnings that came out this week and the market reacted OK -- not anything great."

On a day when

SLM

(SLM) - Get Report

became the latest beneficiary of the merger mania, Costa says the dealmaking has lost the ability to move the broader market.

"People are so used to finding out who got taken over, it's almost like it doesn't do anything anymore," the trader says. "It's not anything people are super excited about. People trade the specific stocks but for overall macro perspective you want something significant to come out."

Asked what will compel more conviction among traders -- in either direction -- Costa says the market may remain range-bound "unless something major is going to happen we can't predict."

In the remainder of the podcast, Task discussed the day's corporate news, including earnings from

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

and

Infosys

(INFY) - Get Report

, the big gains for biotech firm

Dyax

(DYAX)

, while

Varian Medical

(VAR) - Get Report

found itself in "the Geoff Tate zone."

Click

here to listen to the entire podcast.