The answer to whether Americans are better off now than they were four years ago may not be reflected from individuals until the presidential election. But the markets are answering that question now and the answer is a resounding yes.
This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only
The S&P 500 has rallied 82% to a four-year high since president Obama took office. The benchmark index is within 6.8% of its record high. It is closer to its former all-time high than any other large market index.
Naysayers claim that the markets have risen too quickly, especially since the unemployment rate seems stuck over 8% and has been above that mark for 43 consecutive months.
But the bulls say improved earnings show that the markets have plenty of room to go on the upside. They paint a bullish scenario for the next three years.
The S&P 500 has gained 17% in 2012 so far. The index advanced 1.9% just last week after the Federal Reserve announced it would do whatever necessary to get the unemployment rate down.
The economy was in the worst shape in 2008 since the Great Depression. And the S&P 500 has never remained over the 1400 level when the unemployment rate has been this high. It reached that level in 1999 when unemployment was at 3.8%; it climbed over the 1500 mark in 2007 when unemployment was still below 5%.
Analysts point to the global markets as the most reliable forecasters and say that the rally in the markets has largely been in anticipation of more aggressive policy from global central banks.
Investors are recovering the losses they experienced in their retirement accounts during the crisis. The equities markets still may have challenges to overcome but the lost decade
of the 2000s seems to be past.