Is This A Bull Market?

I have been watching stock markets for the better part of 25 years. In my career, I have witnessed many global geo-political “surprises.” The impact on common stock prices has typically been negative as investors generally abhor uncertainty. Hence, I have been observing with wonderment at the direction of global stock prices – with the exception of Middle Eastern bourses – as the Egyptian uprising has unfolded (which was preceded and inspired by a similar uprising in Tunisia). There was a brief hiccup last Friday as the popular movement gained momentum and stocks sold off, but over the past two days, stocks regained their footing and prices are surging. By and large, stocks seem to have shrugged off the uncertainties. Sure, the situation can change tomorrow, but this has a very convincing look and feel as it reflects investor sentiment coming on the heels of a protracted and painful bear market. It may be another indication that the long term secular bear market in common stocks that began in 2000 is coming to an end. What am I missing?

Robert M. Bilkie, Jr., CFA