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Private Briefingwith WILLIAM PATALON III, Executive Editor
Aside from the continued sell-off in U.S. tech stocks, one of yesterday’s top financial news stories was the fact that U.S. inflation is accelerating – and at a pace that’s exceeding forecasts.
And the surge in food prices is one of the big catalysts…
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at a record high after nearly six years, as the stock market today (Tuesday) rallied enough to push the index up nearly 70 points at the open.
Just minutes after the opening bell, the Dow sailed passed its all-time high of 14,165 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. Less than a half-hour into the trading session the Dow roared higher by triple digits propelling benchmark to yet another record.
By 1 p.m. the Dow was up 146.99, or 1.04%, at 14,274.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 17.32 or 1.14%, to 1,542.52, leaving it in striking distance if its record close of 1,565 hit in 2007. The Nasdaq climbed 43.39 or 1.37% to 3,225.42.
Money has poured into stocks over the last several months as individuals have begun to feel more comfortable about the health of the economy - but can it last?
"The question is, can the Dow maintain these levels? The market is interested in risk-that's why the Dow is higher, why the riskier currencies are higher," Matthew Lifson, currency trader at Cambridge Mercantile Group in Princeton told Reuters.
After the Dow peaked in October 2007, the benchmark went on to lose more than half its value over the next 15 months. The culprits six years ago were the bursting housing bubble, the financial system meltdown and the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
Since then, a main cushion for the Dow has been support from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The central bank has pumped more than $3 trillion of monetary stimulus into the anemic U.S. economy since the Great Recession. It also handed out some $1 trillion in bailout loans to save a bevy of banks, insurance giants and auto makers.
For the time being, the Fed is committed to its stimulus programs.
"The Federal Reserve is here, and is going to do everything possible to support this recovery," Fed Chief Ben Bernanke recently told CBS's "60 Minutes."
"So long as the Fed is in an accommodative mode and the economy is out of recession, the odds are that you will have a bull market," David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff and Associates told The New York Times.
And as long as investors believe the Fed's got their backs, they're more likely to put money into the market.
But a wide gap remains between what stocks and the economy are telling us. A lot of uncertainty still looms, and that may be a deterrent.
Caution is warranted about the direction of the Dow, and here's why.
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