A timely reminder that we should not give up on stocks and shares.
There's no news like bad news, and there's been plenty of that lately.
The eurozone meltdown, US fiscal cliff, Chinese hard landing and UK double-dip have kept journalists busy.
Good news is no news. Which may explain why nobody has remarked upon the strange fact that, despite all those dismal financial headlines, stock markets have been rising.
This is the rally nobody noticed.
Rally? What rally?
One minute I'm reading an article by Peter Comley, author of the excellent Monkey With A Pin, setting out what he will do when the FTSE 100 hits 4,000. The next, I discover the FTSE 100 has been actually climbing ever closer towards 6,000.
And while the papers are splashing on Dr Nouriel Roubini's warning of a Global Perfect Storm, few care to mention that US stocks have just hit a two-month high.
This is the rally nobody predicted either.
Up down, up down
Part of this may be down to volatility fatigue. One month the FTSE 100 stretches hopefully towards 6,000, then slips. The next it lurches desperately towards 5,000, only to rise.
Without a breakout in either direction, people lose interest.
I'm not saying this rally is going to break that trend. It could be over by the time you read this. But it is a timely reminder that we shouldn't give up on stocks and shares.
Companies are making money
The macro data may be lousy, but the micro is a different matter. US corporates IBM (NYSE: IBM.US), eBay (NYSE: EBAY.US) and Intel (NYSE: INTC.US) have just posted positive earnings reports, beating analysts' expectations.
Results from JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM.US), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS.US), Citigroup (NYSE: C.US) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO.US) also cheered markets.
Astonishingly, given all the gloom, corporates are still making money. That's a positive sign for the global economy, and in the longer run, stock markets.
Equities aren't dead
Many private investors have given up on equities. Some have stopped saving for their future altogether. The number of people contributing to a personal pension has tumbled from 6.4 million in 2009 to just 6 million last year.
You can hardly blame them.
But as the recent rally shows, stock markets aren't dead. In fact, they're bursting with suppressed energy. They're desperate to break out of their austerity-enforced trading range.
And one day, they will.
You can't ignore this market
A couple of months ago, with the FTSE down at around 5,200, I was dripping money into a low-cost FTSE All-Share tracker, and I'm very glad I did.
I would have paid in more money, but like Pete Comley, I wanted to keep some ammunition dry for when the index fell even lower. Which it hasn't.
This is yet more evidence, if you needed it, that you can't predict the market. Anybody holding off for that global perfect storm is playing a risky game. As we have seen, markets can rise when nobody expects them to, and when most people have stopped looking.
The best you can do is feed money in, little by little. Either with a regular monthly payment, or by investing on the dips.
I didn't spot it either
I'm not saying this rally will last. Actually, I don't even want it to. As I wrote last year, I Hate It When Stock Markets Rise, because I feel the most profitable opportunities are slipping through my fingers.
Plenty of big-name shares have been flirting with 52-week highs of late, for example British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS), Vodafone (LSE: VOD) and Diageo (LSE: DGE). But I would rather buy these solid blue-chip companies when they were eyeing their 52-week lows.
They're cheaper that way and the yield is higher as well. I'm worried this rally will continue, forcing me to buy at higher prices.
This is the rally nobody noticed or predicted. Some of us don't even want it. But here it is.
Where is the UK's leading dividend stock-picker investing today? The identities of Neil Woodford's favourite blue chips are revealed in this free Motley Fool report -- "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor".
Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:
> Harvey Jones owns shares in Diageo and Vodafone. He doesn't own any other shares mentioned in this article