Friday's session embodied the "better than expected" theme of the week,'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), 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.