No, not the stock market although by every measure I use it is indeed calming. What is back to normal - if such a thing exists - are prices of the things I use. Gasoline on Long Island, where I live, is supposed to be the highest in the country yet a gallon of regular is $1.83 at the local Hess station. Bagels are back to 90 cents from a buck, which does not sound big but percentage-wise it is nice.
Pizza seems to be clinging on to its increased price levels but everyone, from the landscaper to the water delivery truck, has dropped those fuel surcharges. How 'bout it, airlines? You can drop the baggage fees now.
A talking head said that since the peak there has been a trillion dollar tax cut on the public in the form of reduced gasoline prices. A bit dramatic since that "tax" did not even cover the entire year. I view things as having a new tax repealed rather than a real cut and in that cynical light there is no net advantage to the consumer.
So, are we ready to rally? I think it is rather widely known that I am looking for a multi-week move higher to the neighborhood of Dow 10K. Most blog readers come here via Barron's so you've seen the column but if you haven't read it please take a visit - it's free, by the way.
But after that, I see it coming back down - but in a more normal way. A declining market, not a crash. A Vix in the 30s, not the 80s. A couple hundred new 52-week lows, not fully half the exchange. You get the point - weaker bearish internals.
That's it for this holiday week. It's time to go over the river and through the wood to Grandma's house. Next year in Aruba (please).