NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As major U.S. stock indices reach new highs with no meaningful correction since last October, investors seem to believe that this market can never go down.
The drive higher was fueled after the European Central Bank cut interest rates and by a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. For the week, the Dow climbed 1.8%, the S&P 500 gained 2% and the Nasdaq Composite (QQQ) gained 3%.
The last time the S&P crossed 1500, the previous century landmark, was in March 2000, just before the dot-com crash that started soon after. So let's take a look at the scorecard of the bull vs. bear case from here. Can this market ever go down again?
Bull Case1. Intense global central bank support from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of Japan as they continue quantitative-easing measures in an ongoing attempt to kick-start the global economy. 2. Earnings reports, while not spectacular, were enough to hold up the major indices during this earnings season that's just ending. 3. Investor sentiment, which seems bullish (maybe too bullish) and the "buy the dip" mentality still rule major stock indices.
Bear Case1. A definite and significant global slowdown is under way. Recent economic reports from every corner of the world, including Japan, China, Europe and the U.S. confirm the deceleration under way, and this can only add downward pressure on corporate profits over the coming months. 2. A stagnant U.S. economy. While the nonfarm payrolls report was celebrated on Friday, 165,000 new jobs is pathetic in the historical scheme of things, and underlying indicators such as hours worked, underemployment and low-paying jobs making up the bulk of the gains dampened the overall significance of an "improving" labor market. 3. Seasonality: "Sell in May and go away" is a widely known phenomenon, and its accuracy has been well proven over time.
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