The Bear Market’s Little Secret

How appropriate… it’s lucky 13 today and I’m writing about the bear market’s next move in taking away investors’ money. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the most widely followed stock market index in the world, closed at 11,498.09. At that level, the DJIA is only 1.9% away from its record high set back on January 14, 2000 (the index closed that day at 11,722.98).

Maybe the market was reacting yesterday to Goldman Sacks’ record quarterly profits. Or maybe it was the sudden drop in commodity prices that got the market roaring. A combination of both? Whatever the trigger, the fact is the DJIA is getting very close to breaking to a new high.

And here is the bear market’s little secret: It’s going to happen! Yes, almost six years after the DJIA hit a record price high, my bet is that a new high will soon be achieved by the ever popular index. Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new record high in the weeks ahead.

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At that point, the bear market will have achieved its goal of getting investors excited about stock and getting them back into the market again. That’s how a bear market works. Bear markets lure investors into the stock market so their money can be taken away over and over.

Logically, is their a reason why big-cap U.S. stock prices should be rising? Didn’t interest rates go up 17 times in a row? Isn’t the consumer cutting back on spending? Isn’t the housing market dead? Isn’t government and consumer debt out of control? Is deflation not a coming threat?

The word on the Street is that $1 trillion in U.S. adjustable rate residential mortgages will be reset at market interest rates in 2007. How on earth will the people paying those mortgages be able to afford their sharply higher monthly mortgage payments? Hey, I have an idea! Maybe they can bet some of their money on higher stock prices!