"It's just a big illusion," said Bob Phillips, managing partner at Spectrum Management Group in Indianapolis. The economy, he said, is still a "no man's land" plagued by high unemployment and slow growth.
The signs were obvious Friday: The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate rose in 26 states last month. The World Trade Organization cut its estimates for growth in global trade for this year and next.
In Europe, Spain was reportedly close to asking for a bailout from Europe. The finance minister of Germany, which has paid for much of the previous bailouts, shot back that Spain doesn't need it.
It's all a reminder that there's only so much the Fed can do. It can't fix the fiscal cliff facing the U.S. government, the higher taxes and government spending cuts that take effect next year unless Congress acts. Others worry that the Fed has used up all the tricks that have previously fueled the stock market.
Phillips said he's worried about "a nasty correction at the first hint of any less-than-stellar news."
Timothy Leach, chief investment officer for U.S. Bank wealth management in San Francisco, said central banks are buying time more than fixing underlying problems.
"But at least they're taking some of the pressure off," Leach added, "allowing policymakers some additional time to try to achieve those real solutions."
Other big moves on the market: