So I go to the CNBC app on my iPad this morning. It shows the Dow down 104 points. I think "yep, makes sense; the early July consumer sentiment reading (according to this morning's poll results release) was way down and producer prices were higher than expected. The market's cueing off of the fear that even though the economy's barely crawling, inflation signals could keep the Fed on the sidelines." Then I touched the 'news' icon to catch this morning's headlines. Then I went back to the market, and it showed the Dow up 140 points. I think "oh yeah, the market page shows where it was when I last looked (yesterday morning). I have to go out and back in to get the current quote." Then I thought "of course the market's up. China's GDP met expectations, while everyone was fearing worse. And JP Morgan's earnings came in okay, in spite ofits recent very large, heavily politicized, trading loss."
Yep, calling short-term market direction is a piece-a-cake. But then again; I've been doing this for 28 years :).
Here's a little video I put together 2 weeks ago today - the last time the Dow jumped 200+ - to help you understand what can inspire big jumps in stock prices in a pessimistic environment.