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U.S. stocks are up. Almost every other stock market is down.

Strange day.

True, U.S. economic data was sort of good this morning. April pending home sales increased by 6%, way above the consensus of 4.3% growth. Revised March numbers showed a 7.1% increase instead of the 5.3% initially reported.

But nobody really trusts those numbers. The big surge in pending home sales in March and April was almost certainly a rush to beat the April 30 deadline for a tax credit for home buyers.

But as I’ve said repeatedly to outperform a stock market doesn’t have to be reporting good news; it simply has to be reporting less bad news that competing markets.

News from Europe and Japan today certainly wouldn’t make me rush to put money to work in those markets. (For more on political problems in Japan and Spain, see my post )

China is stuck in neutral as everyone waits to see what the government will do about starting a property tax. And the rest of Asia (and Australia too) is coping with a mix of good news on economic growth and worry about rising inflation and climbing interest rates.

The combination of decent U.S. growth with a central bank that’s quarters away from raising interest rates looks pretty good in comparison.

 The strength in the U.S. stock market isn’t enough to move the major indexes out of the danger zone: most of them are still either below support at the 200-day-moving average or threatening to break below that line. That doesn’t argue for a big rally from here.

But still even holding at these levels would be an achievement considering the state of global financial markets.