That sure was a crazy day. We had about six intraday changes in direction and went from a near breakdown two hours before the close to a finish at the high of the day. Overall, we ended the day with some very minor losses. There just isn't much conviction one way or the other, so we end up with very random action. Days like this make you think there actually may be something to the "random walk" theory of the market.
Breadth ended up just about even, and volume was nothing special. Retail led all day, and it was mainly a bounce in oil and commodity stocks that gave us the end-of-the-day flourish.
Perhaps market players are hopeful that the State of the Union speech tonight will be a positive for the market. It generally doesn't have much impact except for a few niche areas like alternative energy, but the new, business-friendly President Obama could actually be a positive for the market for a little while.
Whatever happens, it won't last long, because the focus will turn very quickly to the Federal Open-Market Committee interest rate announcement. We also have plenty of earnings reports to come, but the next really major ones aren't until Thursday night, when AMZN and MSFT report.
Earnings from YHOO and JNPR are out after the bell, and neither stock is reacting particularly well to the news.