The Upward Stocks Push: Are We Seeing a Bear Market Rally?


Written by: Jon McGraw

They’re investors. They’re allowed to change their minds.

Just a few weeks ago, on September 17, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to leave the fed funds rate unchanged. In part, this was because, according to them, “Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term.”

The next day, September 18, stock markets tumbled. By the time September was over, many markets had closed on their worst quarter in four years, according to the BBC. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by almost 8%, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 7%, Germany’s DAX was off by almost 12%, and the Shanghai Composite lost more than 24%.

Last week, on Thursday, the minutes of the FOMC meeting were released. Investor response was quite different. Barron’s reported that many believe a rate hike during 2015 is less likely than it once was, and that reinvigorated investor optimism:

“Going into Friday’s session, global equity markets’ valuations were enriched by some $2.5 trillion, according to Bloomberg calculations. As for U.S. stocks, Wilshire Associates reckons that they tacked on 3.44%, or approximately $800 billion, over the full week, based on the gain in the Wilshire 5000 index, their biggest weekly gain in nearly 12 months.”

Why does the same news elicit two very different responses? There are many reasons. Foremost among them is the fact a lot of elements influence markets—investor confidence, company valuations, central bank actions, automated trading and many others.

What does last week’s upward push mean? One analyst cited by Barron’s suggested we’re seeing a bear market rally, but only time will tell.

Data as of 10/9/15 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 3.3% -2.1% 4.5% 11.8% 11.6% 5.4%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 5.5 -3.5 -4.5 2.8 0.4 1.7
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.1 NA 2.3 1.7 2.4 4.4
Gold (per ounce) 1.0 -4.0 -6.1 -13.4 -3.2 9.3
Bloomberg Commodity Index 3.6 -12.8 -23.4 -14.9 -8.9 -6.2
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 3.4 0.0 10.8 10.8 12.0 7.8

Do You Hate Doing the Laundry? You May Be in Luck!

The world’s most advanced laundry bot was introduced at Japan’s 2015 Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC), a technology trade show. The Telegraph reported the robot was developed to eliminate the tedium of laundry, which (as moms and dads everywhere know) is one of the least popular household chores. Not only does “Laundroid” wash and dry clothes, but it can also sort them, fold them and put them away in a cupboard.

If you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true, you’re right—for now. Digital Trends pointed out Laundroid works quite slowly:

“The last laundry-folding robot we saw in action took a long time to get a small towel neatly folded into a little rectangle, and that was with the video sped up. Laundroid is no faster, based on a demonstration at the CEATEC … It took several minutes for the robot—hidden inside a futuristic-looking black cabinet—to fold up a freshly washed T-shirt, according to Engadget. Although it did the task decently, if not in Martha Stewart-approved style, it’s obviously not ready to take on a basket full of jeans and sheets.”

The fly in the ointment is that the bot must determine a shirt is a shirt, and a pair of pants is a pair of pants, and so on, before it can fold items. After all, each item is folded differently. Socks, it seems, pose a particularly ticklish challenge. So how long does it take? Laundroid needs about seven hours to fold a basket of clothes.

If you have a lot of laundry, you may want to check back in a few years.

Weekly Fun—Think About It

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple, or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”

Leonardo da Vinci, Inventor