Tags: Paulsen | economic | growth | Fed

Wells Capital’s Paulsen: Stocks’ Rise Is Due to Economic Growth, Not Fed

Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013 08:16 AM

By June Manning

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The recent rally to five-year highs in the U.S. stock market is the result of a stronger American economy and is not caused by any moves by the Federal Reserve, James Paulsen, Wells Capital Management's chief investment strategist, told CNBC.

The Standard & Poor 500 index closed Friday at 1,466.47, its highest closing level since Dec. 31, 2007.

The benchmark increased 4.6 percent last week, its largest one-week percentage gain since the week that ended Dec. 2, 2011, according to MarketWatch.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

"This [rally] is a fundamentally driven advance in the stock market by growth in the economy," Paulsen told CNBC.

Richard Bernstein, chief executive officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors, echoed Paulsen. "The economy is not strong in the absolute sense, but it continues to improve and that's why the stock market is up."

"There's very little to say that's going to change."

Even with Friday's surge, the S&P 500 is still roughly 6 percent shy of its all-time closing high on Oct. 9, 2007. Meanwhile, the Dow Industrial Average is approximately 5 percent from its record close on that same day.

Although Paulsen does not believe the current market rally is driven solely by the Fed, he thinks the monetary policy will be a major focus later in 2013.

"Fed policy is going to take over the investment consciousness by the end of this year," he said. "Fiscal issues are going to fade away, and it's all going to be about monetary issues."

Bernstein told CNBC that the stock rally could still have some legs, even if the economy continues to grow and the Fed starts to tighten down the road.

"In every cycle there's a point when the Fed starts to tighten. That's not generally the end of the bull market," he argued. "The end of the bull market is when the Fed tightens too much. And we're years away from that right now."

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig urges investors to temper their expectations for the future. “Starved for good news after a dozen years of bear markets and wrenching volatility, investors need to keep their expectations in check and to avoid taking unacceptable risks in the pursuit of yield,” Zweig wrote.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

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