On Wednesday our nation was saddened by the death of Senator Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy who succumbed to brain cancer in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. With 47 years of service in the US Senate he was one of the most influential and accomplished lawmakers of our time. Ted Kennedy was the only one of four distinguished brothers to die of natural causes; President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Robert Kennedy were assonated and Joseph Kennedy Jr., a naval aviator, was killed in action during World War II. The service and sacrifice of this remarkable family to our country is gratefully acknowledged and deeply appreciated.
The persistent rise in stock prices rolled on this week as investors continue to believe the economy is rising from recession, despite ever-present news of bank failures, sluggish consumer participation, and huge looming federal deficits. In spite of it, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced yesterday for the eighth straight day, each to new highs for the year, and representing the longest winning streak since April 2007. The MSCI World Index of 23 developed nations added 0.9% yesterday extending its seventh weekly gain. Copper, among the very best indicators of global growth, jumped to the highest intraday price since Oct. 1st on the London Metal Exchange, while oil climbed 0.9%. The early re-appointment of Ben Bernanke to a second term also gave markets a boost.
After six weeks of market gains, we stalled at the beginning of this one. Leading economic indicators released on Monday indicated no clear signals of improvement which promptly sent the S&P 500 down 4.3%. It appeared that investors had lost their willingness to look beyond the bad news toward the possibility of economic recovery. But optimism returned on Tuesday with a significant rally on comments from Treasury Secretary Mr. Geithner that most banks were sufficiently capitalized. Market strength continued throughout the week as one earnings or economic report followed another with enough positive insight to stoke the bulls. State Street's institutional investor confidence index jumped 10 points in April to 79.6. The report, which analyzes trading volumes, said monthly flows into U.S. stocks are in the 98th percentile.