GDP release this week could trigger stock sell-off, even with positive number


The much-awaited third-quarter gross domestic product number to be released Thursday is expected to show a 3.5 percent increase. In the view of most economists, a positive number will mark the end of the recession which began in late 2008. But a positive print in the GDP is so widely expected that it is now old news, and as a result, the market is primed for a "buy the rumor, sell the news" moment.

Though this increase in GDP is almost universally viewed as "proof the recession is over," the market may not play along. Why? The federal borrow-and-spend stimulus and bank bailout was intended to act like lighter fluid on the real economy's damp logs: contracting credit, declining employment and tax revenues, and a housing market that is still weak.