We’re at one of those rare moments in market history when even the pundits are running out of things to say. The S&P500 (^GSPC) is at all-time highs. Momentum names are on-fire. The economic data is fine and all is right in the world.
History suggests this is an exquisite chance to sell a ton of stock.
Jim Paulsen of Wells Capital has been pounding the table on this rally for Breakout viewers for more than two years and even he expresses some reservations about the current state of the market. “My view has been that the market would probably head up to the 2,000 area on the back of better than expected economic news,” Paulsen offers in the attached video.
He doesn’t really need to add the fact that stocks have pulled within shouting distance of those levels despite GDP actually falling for the first quarter; something no one was talking at the end of last year.
If you want to overthink the rally, and if you’ve read this far you probably do, the worse than expected news has been a boon for stocks since it pushes back the chances of Janet Yellen and the Fed stepping up the pace of their Quantitative Easing program. The jobs market is growing slowly but participation is low, making it hard to argue that the Fed’s work is done in terms of stimulus.
As for inflation, weekly wages grew 2.1% according the NFP report last week. That’s above the Fed’s target rate, but it’s going to take more than a nudge to move Yellen off her tapering course.
Whatever the economy’s failings over the last five years, it’s been a great time to own stocks. From that limited perspective the best possible situation is that the Fed changes absolutely nothing and the economy continues to slog along. Should that be the case, Paulsen’s 2,000 target could end up being conservative.