They say markets climb a wall of worry and these markets have been climbing past a lot of worries.
Unemployment that remains very high. A Europe that remains very dicey. And a Washington that remains very dysfunctional.
None of these worries is new or age-old problems exactly news alerts -- they've been with us for years.
So what's really changed now? Well, I have a theory. It's a crazy theory, but it goes something like this: We want to spend. We're want to splurge.
Not crazy spend. Not crazy splurge. But after years of hoarding cash, investors now seem willing to part with some of that cash.
Not all investors and certainly not all of that cash. But enough investors, willing to let go of enough cash, to get us to where we are today.
Companies aren't much different. For years, they too have been cleaning up their balance sheets and they've had enough of this cocooning cash sheet.
So they're spending money too -- not crazy, but cautiously. Many buying back their stock, like Home Depot, or their closest competitor, like US Air, or their partner, like Comcast, or just taking themselves private, like Dell.
All acts of the same play. I call it the "dip your toes in and see how it feels" play, where the main characters each spend money different ways, but working off the same script, the same hunch that things might not get a whole lot better, so maybe celebrate them not getting much worse.
It's like we've all hunkered down, socking away the dough and paying off the bills and now we're ready to kind of party.
It's not like we're partying like it's 1999 or even the last time we visited this Dow level back in 2007.
It's 2013. We're older, wiser, calmer -- convinced this isn't a boom, but at least we're not looking at a bust. That's why we're putting only some cash to work. We remember the meltdown. So this time, not all our money down.