Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Highs All Around... Again

Can it really be this easy?

Apparently, investing has become more sport than discipline, as the major indices drove again to new highs - the NASDAQ bounding over 3300, with the Dow, the Comp. and S&P 500 setting new all-time record closes.

In addition to the Fed's constant $85 billion/month put, there are other factors at work. Money is pouring out of Japan and Europe since the Cyprus incident and the BOJ's experimental monetary policy that makes Bernanke's monetizing of US debt appear paltry.

The Japanese central bank, while openly buying all the government issued treasuries it can, is also tinkering in the open markets, buying ETFs and REITs, especially.

If Bernanke gets a whiff of this kind of action, US markets could be buffeted with even more stimulus by the Fed, openly buying stocks to levitate the equity markets higher.

When it will end is anybody's guess, but, despite some Fed officials openly saying - in yesterday's leaked February Fed minutes - that they'd like to taper the bond purchases this year and possibly end them by year's end, Friday's non-farm payroll and today's news that first quarter PC shipments fell by 13.9% globally, the worst decline since records began being kept in 1994.

While Wall Street is flying high, the real economy may not be quite so robust. Many argue that the US is still in a recession, and that the one which began in 2007 never really ended. High levels of unemployment has become endemic, a structural rather than a cyclical issue.

Nonetheless, the markets continue to roar higher, and the chances for a significant pull-back seem about as good as a chicken hatching a coyote. There hasn't been a major decline since August of 2011, and that one was caused by our congress and president nearly letting the government breach the debt ceiling.

The mountains of debt being piled up in Washington are of little concern to Wall Street, though, nor, it appears, to the millions of American who have jobs, or are collecting on one of a myriad of entitlement programs.

It wasn't supposed to work this way, but, for now, it's what we've got as an economy and there's practically nobody arguing against its continued success.

Of those groups getting murdered by the rise of stocks are retirees, who cannot make any money safely, i.e., in fixed income investments, gold and silver bugs and anyone who's not "in."

The question remaining is when these groups capitulate and join the party, will the rug be pulled from under them?

Dow 14,865.14, +62.90 (0.42%)
NASDAQ 3,300.16, +2.91 (0.09%)
S&P 500 1,593.37, +5.64 (0.36%)
NYSE Composite 9,234.62, +45.53 (0.50%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,793,031,500
NYSE Volume 3,476,424,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3663-2761
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 563-25
WTI crude oil: 93.51, -1.13
Gold: 1,564.90, +6.10
Silver: 27.70, +0.044

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