Remember climbing a ladder for the first time and hearing the advice – don’t look down? Seems everybody looked down a couple of months ago and believed the worst. People seem to be frozen like deer in the headlights. In my conversations with friends and clients I hear that their businesses, some related to homebuilding and others completely unrelated, simply fell off the cliff a couple of months ago. While some can be explained by high fuel prices, poor exchange rates, and tight credit policies, the reasons are broader than the economic data. There seemed to be a psychological line that was crossed and people simply put on the brakes.

Amidst the continuing threats of terror attacks, the War inIraq, the erosion of trust of corporate chieftains and mutual fund managers, the dollar’s continuing decline, and a host of other worries, the S&P 500 index managed the broadest advance in 23 years.  Over 90% of S&P 500 stocks rallied during the year, according to Bloomberg.  The S&P and the Dow Jones Industrials were each up over 28%, including dividends, while the technology and biotech-heavy NASDAQ was up over 50%. 

Just like the Yankees, this market refuses to give up.  Down two games to none, the Yankees faced the possibility of a sweep by the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks as they came back to New York for game three of the World Series.  But with faith, determination, and more than a little luck, they homered their way back into the series, winning all three of their games in front of the home crowd.  In the last two games, the Yank hitters overcame the Diamondbacks in the ninth innings as they capitalized on the weakness of Arizona’s relief pitcher staff.