If bull markets "climb a wall a fear," as the saying goes, the current rally that has taken the Dow to highs not seen since 2007 has had more than its share. In the process, some traders have been very reluctant to put a lot of money into stocks.
There was, of course, the "fiscal cliff" which loomed over the market at the start of 2013. But more recently, traders have begun to talk about the end of the Fed's program of quantitative easing, which has fueled most of the market's gains since 2009-- even as the U.S. economy picks up steam.
Despite these concerns and others, the S&P 500 has managed a gain of over 15% so far this year-- despite a pullback over the last couple of days. Given these impressive gains, it's no wonder that even hardcore non-believers have been dragged kicking to the realization that just
Top StoriesTokyo shares close higher following another volatile day. Japanese shares ended +0.6% after a roller coaster session in which stocks bounced nearly 4% and then plunged anew - dropping to more than -3% before eventually recovering. The gyrations followed yesterday's slump of 7.3%. The currency markets have also been volatile, with the dollar -0.7% at ¥101.32 at the time of writing. Despite the stabilization of Tokyo shares, U.S. stock futures were looking shaky premarket, while Europe had turned red after being in the green earlier.
P&G turns to former CEO Lafley to rework his magic. Procter & Gamble (PG) has taken what it hopes is no gamble by reappointing A.G. Lafley as CEO to replace the retiring Bob McDonald. The latter's departure comes after P&G's growth stagnated, prompting vocal criticism from activist investor William Ackman. During Lafley's first stint as CEO from 2000-2009, he
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On Wednesday the Fed seemed to lose control of the message and markets. On Thursday they rounded up their colleagues to set things straight. Fed Governor Bullard tried to add some clarity by saying: "The Fed can increase bond buying while tapering at the same time." Er, pardon me? The late comic George Carlin liked to mock flight attendant commands: "Put your seat backs forward." Bullard echoes this confusing distortion.
Thursday the Fed also tossed-in another $3.65 billion of POMO, which was at the top range of expectations. Most Fed comments even from Bernanke's Wednesday testimony are focused on stock market prices. They believe, incorrectly in my view, that QE will create the wealth effect, which is believed to stimulate consumer spending and the economy.
The Fed got some help Thursday as economic data was positive for a change. Jobless Claims were lower (340K vs. 345K