With "devastating" (if you believe either side) budget cuts less than 48 hours away, the Dow gains 170 points. You know how I feel about the so-called sequester---well, apparently, traders agree. Or if they don't agree with me that, when we're running a trillion dollar annual deficit, any cut's a good cut, they apparently don't seem to see the sequester as a rally-ending event. The "smart" money---at least the smart-sounding blokes CNBC parades across the screen throughout the day---say it's all about the Fed. I say it's all about buyers (be they institutions or individuals) believing that the companies they're buying can sustain, if not increase, their present rate of earnings, and that present share prices don't accurately reflect that belief. Although I suspect today's big run up had a lot to do with panic-stricken short-sellers (those who make bets that a stock's going down)---who thought sequestration might bring capitulation---covering their positions. I.e., the short-sellers, if only for the moment, are beginning to buy the buy-side story.
Now, as you've noticed, sentiment can turn on a dime: remember Monday? The Dow dropped 200 points. And beyond sequestration, there's of course plenty to worry about. I could list a dozen concerns, beginning with the looming debt ceiling, but, frankly, it doesn't matter---there's forever plenty to worry about. And, believe me, that's a very good thing; for bull markets need liquidity, and every bleary-eyed buyer needs a willing seller.