What a week. In the wake of the announcement Wednesday that the Federal Reserve would spend $600 billion to buy long-term Treasuries to help stimulate the lagging economy, the stock market jumped nearly 2 percent in a day, reaching levels not seen since September 2008.
This week's news is part of an ongoing rally: The S&P enjoyed its biggest October gain since 2003, and the market had returned nearly 8 percent year-to-date at the end of October.
Of course, the stock market is never a sure thing. But those who can't stomach the bigger swings of the market and instead parked their money in traditional savings have been suffering the water-drop torture of steadily-falling rates.
For the wealthy, however, the party band might just be tuning up. Aside from the stock market recovery, there are other positive signs. Mortgage rates are at historic lows and home prices are depressed, so those in the market for a home can score a bargain if they have good credit or cash. President Barack Obama has announced he's open to extending the Bush tax cuts for another year or two, and even retailers are gearing up for a price war for your holiday dollar this year.
Of course, the week's news was not all grand. Although the employment report gained some ground, adding 151,000 jobs in October, it wasn't enough to alter the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. The slow outlook for employment is still a roadblock to an economic recovery. Without jobs, more people who can't make their mortgage payments will default; consumer spending, which makes up nearly 75 percent of the economy, will continue to be shaky and consumer confidence will falter.
Readers, what do you think? Are we headed for good times ahead, or still a long way from recovery?
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