- James I. Clark III
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Will the Stock Market Recovery Continue in 2011?
With the stock market ending its best December since 1987, there is hope that 2011 will see a strong Wall Street recovery. One source of hope is the fact that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has returned to its pre-Lehman Brothers level. It joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the Russell 2000 in seeing strong improvements in their levels. Stocks have risen 20 percent in just four months.
The recent surge was helped by performance chasing. The proportion of money managers lagging their benchmarks by five percent has increased from 12 percent at the end of October to 22 percent in the middle of December and trimming their risk exposure “on the presumption that the markets had reached the upper end of a trading range,” said JPMorgan’s Thomas Lee. BTIG’s Mike O’Rourke, chief market strategist, believes the purchase of hard assets as a hedge against depreciating currencies has helped drive the price of oil to above $90 per barrel. He also points to high silver and copper prices – with the latter at an all-time high. “There is no doubt commodities have performed well even though the dollar has not broken down, but the question is how long will it take before speculators bail on the trade,” O’Rourke said.
Wall Street market strategists are consistently bullish, generally forecasting 2011 gains of 10 to 17 percent, with Deutsche Bank forecasting gains of as much as 25 percent. Main Street investors are equally upbeat: Recent polls indicate the greatest level of optimism since 2007, with the bullish crowd surging to 63 percent of those queried, with just 16 percent claiming bearishness.