The bull still roars. At this rate, FTSE 6,000 will be here before Easter.
Predictably enough, global stock markets rose again yesterday.
According to Bloomberg, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, an ETF that tracks the benchmark index for US shares, climbed for the 14th day in a row, the longest streak since the security was introduced in 1993.
Not to be outdone, the FTSE 100 yesterday hit a 20-month high, climbing to its highest level since June 2008.
Are those flashing buy signals, or signals to bail out now whilst the going is good?
A Feeding Frenzy
For now, the bulls still have it.
They're feeding off a diet of near zero interest rates for an extended period. Stating the obvious, Gerard Lane of Shore Capital said on Bloomberg "Interest rates are likely to stay low for some time… rates will stay lower for longer than elsewhere. The obvious impact of that is lower sterling, which is good for the economy and the FTSE 100."
The bulls are starting to see some serious merger and acquisition activity, as witnessed by yesterday's unsolicited approach for train and bus operator Arriva (LSE: ARI).
FTSE 6,000 anyone?
And the bulls are lapping up even the slightest piece of positive economic news. Take the latest unemployment data, for example. Bloomberg's headline screamed "UK Jobless Claims Fall at Fastest Pace Since 1997", going on to say the numbers suggest "the economic recovery is strengthening…"
The stock market is loving it.
A Quarter Of Adults Out Of Work
Back in the real world, Telegraph.co.uk has interpreted the unemployment data somewhat differently, headlining with "Quarter of adults out of work, official figures show", saying "…more people than ever before had abandoned the workplace -- choosing instead to study, go on sick leave or just give up searching for a job."
Perhaps the Telegraph's glass is half empty? No such problems with the stock market. Its glass is close to overflowing. Where others see the tragedy of 10.6 million people either without a job or stopped looking for one, it sees 32,300 less people on the dole and celebrates the 'recovery'.
The Rich Getting Richer
The market is a heartless soul. I'm alright Jack, and hard luck to the rest of you. That's capitalism at work, where the rich get richer and the poor keep looking for work. Harsh, but true.
(Before you sound off in the comments boxes below, I do realise capitalism creates jobs, and more jobs is exactly what we need today, and always. I am a capitalist at heart, but I also like to think I have a social conscience.)
For UK PLC, we can only hope this is the start of a recovery. 32,300 less people on the dole is nothing to get excited about, but it is a move in the right direction.
On The 15th Day Of The Bull…
If nothing else, whichever way you choose to interpret the unemployment numbers, and whatever your political persuasion, it does highlight the economic recovery will be a slow and drawn out affair.
Still, that's not fazing the stock market. It continues its triumphant march upwards. I for one wouldn't be betting against a 15th day in a row of bull.
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