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Forget The Gloom: The FTSE 100 Is Nearing Its All-Time High!

Anybody who has been watching the news can be forgiven for feeling gloomy about the state of the world, especially the global economy.

Last year, we had four main worries on our minds: the Ukraine crisis, Islamic State brutality, Chinese bubbles and the interminable eurozone.

None have died down — quite the reverse, all have hit new levels of intensity.

2015 has added new worries, with deflation rampant and the US economy running out of puff.

All this and ‘Snowmageddon’ too, which buried parts of London in an entire centimetre of the white stuff.

Could this truly be the end of days?

Snow Problem

The FTSE 100 doesn’t think so. It defied killer snow to end Tuesday 1.3% higher at 6872. That’s a five-month high, the best close since 4 September, when it settled at 6878.

But why? Doesn’t it know we’re all going to hell in a handcart?

Oil In Troubled Waters

Investors found some strange thing to celebrate yesterday, such as the sharp rebound in the oil price.

After weeks of applauding cheap oil as good for consumers and businesses, markets decided to celebrate higher prices instead.

Similarly, they cheered a Greek proposal to swap its outstanding debt for new growth-linked bonds, even though it was quickly snubbed by sources at the European Central Bank.

Investors even clapped a 20% drop in profits at BT and a dip in US factory goods orders in December.

Strangeways Here We Come

This apparently irrational swing in sentiment left the FTSE 100 a tantalising 58 points below its all-time high of 6930, which it hit more than 50 years ago on 31 December 1999.

A rush and a push and that all-time high is ours.

Cheer Up

Now I don’t want to overhype this FTSE 100 landmark. Like Snowmageddon, life will go on as normal.

But if the index does hit an all-time high, and then power on above 7000, stock markets can finally stop apologising for the disappointments of the last 15 years, and enjoy breaking new ground. 

FTSE 7000 isn’t baked in, though. Last year, the index repeatedly menaced its all-time high, only to shyly retreat, as it’s doing on Wednesday morning, despite a surprise rise in UK services activity.

But it will get there, whatever the weather throws at us.

What really counts is what happens to stock markets in the longer run. Given time, investing in FTSE 100 stocks could help you join the growing number of UK millionaires who earned their wealth on the stock market.

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Harvey Jones has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.