Santa's Rally? We're Still Waiting for the Dow to Hit 20,000

A man dressed as Santa Claus leaves for his annual Christmas journey from the Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland
Is the stock market headed for a Santa rally? REUTERS/Laura Haapamaki/Lehtikuva/Files

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By Patti Domm, CNBC

The Dow came within 13 points of 20,000 Tuesday, but some of the year's final economic reports could help take it over the top on Thursday.

"[The Dow] just can't seem to get enough inertia. It's a reminder that it's a big number," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery. "We've come a long way… maybe in an exaggerated way since the election. Perhaps we're borrowing a lot from expectations for what 2017 holds."

Durable goods data is released at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with jobless claims and the final revision to third-quarter GDP. Personal income and spending and PCE prices are released at 10 a.m., as are leading indicators for November.

Luschini said the data could help boost stocks if it is generally positive.

"We're still data dependent here. We've had terrific economic data points here. The Citigroup economic surprise index turned up on October 20," he said.

Third-quarter GDP is expected to be revised to growth of 3.3 percent from 3.2 percent.

"'Tis the season. It may not take much for the market to get back, hooked on the seasonality factor which has been generally strong this time of year — Santa's rally," said Luschini. He said it's likely investors will take profits in some of the names that have gained the most, and some may be holding off to sell in January, in anticipation of lower taxes next year.