The bull market that started on March 9, 2009 is now five years old. And because few bull markets run longer than five years, the possibility a correction is just around the corner grows larger every day. Now there's nothing wrong with being concerned, but investors must keep one thing in mind
stock market history
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They have ranged from the commonly used variety - like moving averages, crossovers, the VIX, death crosses, and Bollinger Bands - to the esoteric, including the tallest buildings, Big Money Polls, financial astrology and, more recently, magazine covers.
You'd think the tools market technicians typically use would generate the most interest. But inevitably, it's the more unusual indicators that people are most attracted to.
Why?... I have no idea. I am not a social scientist.
But I can tell you this - having spent tens of thousands of hours computer modeling almost every indicator you can conceive of, the most consistent and best performing indicators are almost always behaviorally-based.
What I mean by that is that there is inevitably an element of human behavior that is either: a) responsible for the indicator itself; or b) contributes significantly to how it functions and why it's relevant.
My grandmother, Mimi, a seasoned successful investor in her own right after being widowed at a young age, used to chalk this up to what she called the "complexity problem" - as in, if it's too complex for me to understand, it's a problem.
She didn't use the term like I do today in a non-linear sense. She simply reasoned that if something was too complex to explain to her, it wasn't worth her time or her money.
Skirt Chasing and the Stock MarketsAnd that brings me to women's skirts.
He was asked about stocks that in a way represent the American Dream and if these stocks' recent rise is disconnected from reality.
"Four stocks suggest the American Dream is alive and well in the markets," said today's host Charles Payne. "What do you make of it? And, is the market a leading indicator?"
Keith offered up a unique way to assess the current situation....
The stock market rallied Friday thanks to a roaring round of positive earnings reports - with a little help from positive news out of Europe.
Just after noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 113 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 jumped 9 points and the Nasdaq gained 22.
With little on the economic calendar to close out the week, and no major reports due, market participants focused on encouraging first-quarter results from a spate of several large and market-influencing firms.
"There's been a wrestling match all week long between strong earnings and weak economic data. At the moment earnings are winning," Lawrence Centura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors told the Associated Press.
Strong Earnings Push Stock Market Gains
To date, quarterly earning has been pleasantly strong.
"The number of companies reporting positive surprises is much higher than it typically is at this stage in the game," Fred Dickson, chief market strategist of D.A. Davidson & Co. told CNN Money. "They're only beating by a little, but it's still a significant number of companies and that's the wow factor."
Of the 212 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported, better than 80% have exceeded expectations, according to Thomson Reuters. During a typical quarter, the percentage of companies that top forecasts is 60%.
Here are some recent highlights:
- Tech giant Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) lead Friday's gains in the broad-based rally after beating expectations late Thursday, reporting sales growth of 6% thanks to its Window and Office products. MSFT gained 4.55% Friday to close at $32.42.
- Investors also ate up better-than-expected numbers from fast-food king McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD), which ended the day up. The company proved it remained a worldwide favorite with same-store sales up 8.9% in the U.S., 5% in Europe and 5.5% in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Revenue rose 8% (excluding currency fluctuations).
- Robust earnings from General Electric (NYSE: GE) pushed its stock up 1.15% to $19.36. GE narrowly beat expectations with quarterly profit of 34 cents a share, a penny higher than expected, and revenue of $35.18 billion compared to a forecast $34.7 billion.
- Meanwhile, traders traded E*Trade (Nasdaq: ETFC) up some 6% on better-than-expected first-quarter results. E*Trade's first-quarter profit rose 38% from a year earlier.
- Technology manufacturer Honeywell (NYSE: HON) beat on both earnings and revenue, sending the honey pot buzzing. First-quarter income climbed 17% from a year earlier, and the company raised its 2012 forecast.