In “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator,” believed to be the autobiography of Wall Street trader Jesse Livermore under the pen name Edwin Lefevre, there’s a story of how a shred old-timer was asked by a newcomer for some investment wisdom. He said “it’s a bull market,” again and again that’s all he would say. The newcomer expected the sage to say “buy Union Pacific” or “short U.S. Steel.” The newcomer was disappointed until another investor told him he received the most valuable advice the sage could give. True.
So it is a bull market. Never mind those who insist that it shouldn’t be a bull market, or it isn’t really if you look at this or that. They are in denial. This is a bull market with a powerful, earnings driven tailwind. It has more room to run.
Why are stocks rallying? The reasons are rising earnings in a growing economy, relatively low interest rates, and literally trillions of dollars, pounds and euros looking for a better return than money-market funds provide. There are more reasons too.
Credit conditions are improving (bond issuance has soured) and we’ll soon hear that jobs are once again being created and GDP is growing at a good pace early in the year. Corporate America planned for a recession, or in some cases a depression. They slashed production, cut payrolls and postponed all but essential capital expenditures. This is reflected on the bottom line. Rising profits trumps all. That is driving stocks higher.