Is the Market’s Rise Misleading?

The stock market is showing a health glow as we leave 2013, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index looks to be headed for its best yearly advance in sixteen years, according to Bloomberg. Possibly due to housing prices and consumer confidence, the S&P may do better than any year since 1997. Big moves being made in the marketplace include Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) after its transaction with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A), and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTZ) hit an all time high after rising 8.8 percent following its shareholder plan announcement.

According to Bloomberg, the S&P 500 hit a record of $1846.59 today, and the equities benchmark went up 29 percent over the course of this year. The S&P 500 isn’t the only one with good news though, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 50.31 points to $16554.60 for an all-time high as well.

“The market is up primarily for two reasons. Obviously, you’ve got the consumer confidence data. It’s also the last trading day of the year, and typically it’s reasonably positive if there’s no negative news. As people and firms shore up books for the end of the year, typically the market drifts higher,” said Aaron Izenstark, the co-founder of Iron Financial LLC, to Bloomberg.

Still, despite the good news, Wall Street may not be looking at a stable improvement. Experts told Bloomberg that they predict the coming year may show slow equity returns. “I don’t think the market is overvalued, but will it continue this nice smooth ascent with almost no volatility? We will see a more volatile year that might scare off some investors, which might be good,” said Tobias M. Levkovich, the chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup Inc., to Bloomberg.

“Sentiment is getting way too positive,” Levkovich noted, “It’s beyond complacency.” The Volatility Index echoed this sentiment as it rose 3.2 percent to 13.99 on Tuesday, the third consecutive day it showed a rise in numbers.

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