By Carlos Guillen
Equity markets are continuing to make amazing climbs that are simply putting bears to shame. In fact, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high yesterday, today the Dow has just broken an all time intraday high for a second consecutive day and it look like it is on track to reach yet another record high closing level.
Part of the enthusiasm in stock markets today is very likely related the fact that the Fed has been discussing a time line to the end of a near zero Fed funds rate. While there has not been a definitive date set, investors are seeing this as an indication that they need to start moving money from safer long-term bonds into stocks very soon.
Stocks are also getting a lift from strong economic data abroad. In fact, Chinese imports surged 14.1 percent from a year ago, well above economists' expectations of a 6.1 percent rise, a sign that demand from the world's second-largest economy remained strong. This is reinforcing the notion that China's economy is developing growth from within, not just relying on exports. This is great for the world economy in general because it serves to give other economies a life line, preventing many from contraction.
Perhaps on a slight negative note, but not enough to derail the momentum that has been developing, was that the White House lowered its 2013 growth estimate to 2.3 percent from the 2.7 percent expansion it projected in July. This forecast was still, however, above the 2 percent that economists are projecting for this year. Moreover, the White House predicted that the nation's jobless rate will average 7.7 percent for the year, compared with the economists' estimate calling for 7.6 percent.
In all, stocks are simply "on fire" so far into today's trading session, and the momentum looks right on track to finish the session at a new record, simply putting market bears to shame.