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This is the daily notebook of Mike Santoli, CNBC’s senior markets commentator, with ideas about trends, stocks and market statistics. The market is in a listless drift near the top end of the trading range as Wall Street awaits a jobs number and tries to determine if this rally has set itself apart from the prior fleeting bounces of the 2022 bear market. The S & P 500 is hesitating right below the early-June high of 4,177 or so, next up from there is the halfway mark of the entire peak-to-trough decline near 4,230. So there are some upside tests, just as parts of the market begin to look slightly overbought in the short term. Much talk from sell-side trading desks that the 14% S & P 500 rally has been mostly a positioning shock – a heavily net short hedge-fund community, extreme bearish sentiment and high cash levels at the mid-June low generated a powerful snapback. True, for sure. This is how all rebound rallies get going – the doomed ones and the durable ones alike. Yet this doesn’t mean the rally was entirely about mechanical/flow factors. Since the mid-June S & P low, crude is off 20%, gasoline prices have been down every day and the 10-year Treasury yield is off more than half a percentage point. Meantime, macro data has tilted a bit more toward “soft-ish” landing than “rapid slide into recession.” Recall that the relentless surge in gasoline prices and the Federal Reserve’s anchoring of its policy plans to headline inflation and consumer expectations – which themselves are proxies for gas prices – were the main driver of the market’s descent to the mid-June lows. Some reversal in gasoline and yields has fed the “peak Fed hawkishness” idea, with some justification. Jim Paulsen of The Leuthold Group notes the risk-seeking character of the current rally, a basket of “offensive” sectors and strategies relative to “defensive” plays making the kind of run that looks like prior ramps of important market lows. Notable, perhaps that the upside extremes in offense-over-defense last year were considerably more heady than prior peaks, but it’s still something that makes this rally a bit different from previous ones. Weekly jobless claims saw another uptick and the four-week average is trending higher, consistent with rising recession risks but not yet at absolute levels that imply serious weakening of the labor market. The jobs number Friday is still expected to look healthy. It’s unclear if the market wants a very strong print, given the Fed folks keep using underlying economic strength as a cover story for their purported resolve to get rates a good deal higher and not consider reversing to easing in coming months. Yes, Fed speakers make it seem like the market is ignoring their insistence that no dovish pivot is in sight, but we’re close enough to neutral and far enough from the next Fed meeting and the S & P 500 is only back to a two-month high. To me, it’s not as if investors have growth heedless. But no one is talking about 4% to 6% short rates any more and inflation leading indicators are way off the boil, so some relaxation in equities makes sense. Tactical active managers in the National Association of Active Investment Managers survey have lifted their equity allocations from rock-bottom extremes, pretty much in line with the market action and placing this exposure index around the low side of neutral. Market breadth is pretty evenly mixed. VIX up a small amount around 22. It’s likely the jobs report keeps it from buckling much from here, but after the early Friday print and market open it could hit an air pocket.