The Dow (^DJI) has rallied for nine straight sessions and has closed at a record high in the last seven. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) is within 11 points of its record high of 1565.15 set on Oct. 9, 2007. Can the rally continue?
Individual investors are still hesitant about stocks after leaving the market when the bottom fell out in late 2007.
“There’s been so little enthusiasm or even interest…from mainstream America,” says The Daily Ticker’s Aaron Task.
Investors may not be buying stocks but they are still spending. The government reported Wednesday that retail sales rose 1.1% in February—almost double what economists were forecasting-- and employment is picking up.
“The economy is surprisingly strong and consumers seem to have worked off the huge debts that they built up and caused the financial collapse in a lot of ways,” says The Daily Ticker’s Henry Blodget.
And companies may also start to spend more. They’re holding more than $1 trillion on their balance sheets in part because of uncertainty about policies from Washington. But that too could be changing.
“Last year the problem was the Republican Party," says Blodget. “They’re not threatening to put the government out of business anymore. That’s incredibly helpful.”
At the same time concerns over the impact of the sequester -- $87 billion in across-the-board spending cuts -- haven’t yet materialized. Rising stock prices, improving labor and housing markets and reduced fears about a government shutdown could help push retail investors back into equities. But Blodget offers one bit of advice for restless investors:
“Unless you are getting paid to manage somebody’s else’s money you should not ever try to time the market or pick stocks,” he says.
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