Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't bet on the "recovery"

The Wall Street bull is buoyant again. The ka-ching sound coming from the stock market is growing louder as the Dow keeps levitating higher: 7000, 8000, 9000, 10,000, 11,000. Do I hear 12,000?

Investors are becoming more upbeat about the prospects for a sustainable economic recovery. Job offers are replacing pink slips. Shoppers are returning to the malls. Mortgage delinquencies appear to have peaked. CEOs at top companies that make computer chips, extend loans to borrowers and transport packages and other goods via trucks and railroads say business is better and profits are climbing.

. . . But the long-term outlook is cloudier. Indeed, it is what comes after the immediate burst of economic activity — driven largely by $787 billion in government stimulus money and short-term interest rates near 0% — that still worries . . . skeptical stock strategists and economists.

People who make their living selling things will always tell you now is the time to buy. But, what happens if China stops lending us money or we just can't print any more money?

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