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As We Close in on the Alibaba IPO, Here's What You Need to Watch For

It isn’t often that a really “hot” initial public stock offering lives up to the pre-deal hype.

But Thursday’s IPO of China e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE-WI: BABA) is shaping up to be everything the most ardent market mavens have been saying.

Alibaba is on track to become the largest U.S. initial public offering ever.

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    Is the Obama Stock Market Rally the Real Deal?

    Chart up exponential

    At first glance, there can be no doubt that U.S. President Barack Obama has been good for the stock market.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 Index has rallied by nearly 700 points - just shy of 86% - since the president's first Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.

    This is the best stock market performance for a presidential first term since World War II, even beating the 79.2% rally during President Bill Clinton's first term in the White House, from January 1993 to January 1997.

    In fact, the only time stocks rallied more during a presidential first term was during Franklin Roosevelt's first term from March 4, 1933, to Jan. 20, 1937, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 245% off of Depression-era lows.

    In a very broad sense, the condition of the stock market at the start of President Obama's first term in 2009 can be compared to the stock market in 1933. In both cases, stock prices had collapsed and were trading at generational lows when both presidents took office. In both cases, share prices rallied substantially off of the bottom as economic conditions improved.

    But all this really proves is that the first leg of any rally is usually the strongest and most profitable.

    As the S&P 500 is at a five-year high and is zeroing in on the 1,500 level for the third time in its history, one has to wonder if the Obama Rally is sustainable or are we just reverting to the mean?

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  • Obama rally