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Are we in a bull market?

By Sheyna Steiner · Bankrate.com
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Posted: 2 pm ET

Everyone seems to be atwitter about a bull market this week.

Yesterday, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed at a seven-month high, just 1 percent off the year-over-year high from April 29, 2011.

And the MSCI All-Country World Index has also climbed precipitously in recent months.

What is the MSCI All-Country World Index, you might ask.

It's a benchmark index of world stock prices compiled by Morgan Stanley Capital International. Here's how the MSCI website describes it:

The MSCI World Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets. The MSCI World Index consists of the following 24 developed market country indices: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The index is up 23 percent from the intraday low touched October 4.

According to the Bloomberg.com story published today, "Defensive stocks lose first time since 1999 as equities resume bull market," that could indicate a bull market.

Reporter Matt Walcoff writes:

The MSCI All-Country World Index has risen 20 percent from its October low, meeting the definition of a bull market …

It's a little ironic. Last year the Federal Reserve was criticized for being too optimistic about the economic recovery. Recall the statement released following the March 15 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which said the "economic recovery (is) on firmer footing and overall conditions in the labor market appear to be improving gradually."

The soft patches the economy hit over the summer caused them to back that optimism up quite a bit. Now, after a couple of solid months of pretty decent economic data and a drawn out schedule for tightening monetary policy predicted, could the Fed be behind the curve again, I wonder?

Does any of this change your investing strategy?

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3 Comments
Countryfinch
February 09, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Until Europe resolves its debt issues and U.S. reduce its real estate inventory, no bull talks.

Sheyna Steiner
February 09, 2012 at 5:21 pm

It's so easy to identify everything in retrospect. I think everyone is desperately sick of bad news and would really, really like a bull market -- whether or not that is to be remains to be seen!

Save First
February 09, 2012 at 4:43 pm

No way. The 1-year charts look like something out of "Frommer's Guide to Hiking the Carpathian Mountains".

Markets are up fractionally over the last 365-days. Whoever is calling this a "bull market" apparently forgot what we went through in August-September 2011.

I call "bull" on their claim of a bull market. We're only back to even for the most part.