Only Strength in Corporate Earnings Can Get Things Going

There’s still a long way to go before the housing market finds a new equilibrium. No interest-rate cut from the Federal Reserve will be strong enough to turn this sector around on a dime. The real estate market had a good run and now it’s time for it to consolidate for a while.

What we’ve got now is a stock market that’s still unsure of itself, even after the big rate cut. The catalyst for the current lackluster environment was no doubt the subprime credit situation. However, as is usually the case, other issues contributed to the cause. It wasn’t too long ago that the price of a barrel of oil crossed the $70.00 level. Now the price is over $80.00 a barrel, but the stock market doesn’t seem as concerned this time.

The action by the Federal Reserve will certainly help stock market sentiment, but it won’t solve the confidence issue. Only strength in corporate earnings will do this and, thankfully, third-quarter earnings season is just around the corner.

If we get decent financial results from corporations, then it’s possible we’ll get a new uptrend in the stock market. If this happens, the main stock market average may be able to finish the year on a positive note.

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I think institutional investors are just plain unsure of themselves in this market. The credit crunch has taken the wind out of equity market buyers and it’s unclear when it will return.

The net of all this is that it’s still going to be a difficult environment for stock market speculators. Investment risk remains high and overall investor enthusiasm remains uninspiring. You most certainly can be a buyer in this market, only you can’t expect much over the near term.