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Real Time Insight

The S&P is within arm's reach of its highest level in more than 5 years. Following a fiscal cliff deal, the index soared and eventually hit an intraday high of 1468 on January 4, coming within 7 points of its 5-year high of 1475 on September 14, 2012 (which is its highest level since 12/31/07). But this proved to be a bit of a resistance level as the market has retreated a bit since then, as you can see in this chart below:

So what do you think it will take to finally propel the S&P 500 to new multi-year highs?

A. A solid Q4 earnings season
B. Better-than-expected economic data
C. No catalyst needed. We're just pausing before the breakout.
D. It won't break out... at least not anytime soon.

My vote is for 'D'. I just don't see us breaking out to new multi-year highs without a strong earnings season. And as Sheraz Mian, Director of Research at Zacks, recently wrote, Q4 earnings growth is expected to be flat year-over-year, but full year 2013 earnings are still expected to grow by double-digits. I think these rosy projections will come down significantly after this earnings season, and that will hold the S&P back from reaching new highs.

What do you think? Chime in below.

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