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‘Classic bull market’: Analysts react to Dow’s big move

The overhead monitor at the New York Stock Exchange shows the Dow Jones industrial average.

Henny Ray Abrams/AP

The Dow rose to record highs on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 as investors extended 2013's rally. Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow rose above 14,198.10, the intraday all-time high reached in October 2007, when the world was heading toward the financial crisis.

If the Dow ends the day at these levels, it will also set a new record closing high, above 2007's 14,164.53.

Here's a look at what market strategists are saying:

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"This is a classic bull market, climbing the wall of worry. Valuations in the equity market are spectacular," says Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist at Prudential Fixed Income in Newark, New Jersey.

"Stocks are incredibly cheap. They are as cheap relative to bonds as they were in the mid-1970s. They hit these valuations back in 2009 and the valuations have remained extremely favourable since then despite the higher prices, by virtue of the fact that the fundamentals have improved as evidenced by solid earnings growth."

Stocks have rallied since the start of the year as investors continue to view equities as more attractively valued than other asset classes. Loose monetary policy around the world has also driven bets on risk assets.

"The market is interested in risk – that's why the Dow is higher, why the riskier currencies are higher," said Matthew Lifson, currency trader at Cambridge Mercantile Group in New York.

"The question is, can the Dow maintain these levels?"

Investors have also poured money into equities in 2013 as signs of economic recovery take hold. The Dow has gained more than 8 per cent so far this year, ahead of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index.

"There is a component of this that is sort of a melt-up," William Larkin, fixed income portfolio manager, Cabot Money Management of Salem Massachusetts.

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"Everybody is concerned about the low interest rate environment and the Fed pushing a little bit too long and too hard. That means that the larger, more global companies are going to be the benefactors, because the stimulus is not only domestic, it is global."

"There are few new catalysts," for today's strong move says Bank of Nova Scotia's Derek Holt. "But they point to evidence that while the U.S. has embraced greater fiscal drag through sequestration cuts, Europe is going the other way.

"Further, despite downsides to housing and exports, China's leadership reaffirmed its commitment to achieving 7.5 per cent GDP growth this year and that buoyed Shanghai with positive spillover effects elsewhere."

Hugh Johnson, Chief Investment Officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York says "It's meaningful in the sense it obviously has a lot of media potential – it's likely to move stories about the stock market to the front page from the financial section."

"There is the wealth effect of the fact that when you start to lift confidence it leads to stronger consumer spending. From that point of view it will have positive feedback on the economy."

"I'm happy we got it out of the way and now we can focus on more important issues in the market," says Enis Taner, global macro editor at options research firm in New York "Maybe we can focus on the fundamental news such as earnings and macro economic policy."

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James Hughes, Chief Market Analyst for Alpari also sounded a note of caution: "The positive feeling and strong move in the stock markets does not mean that the economic woes for the global economy or the U.S. are over. With unemployment still stubbornly high and countries such as the U.S. and U.K. still reeling from recent ratings downgrades, it is safe to say that there is still a long way to go before we can say that the financial world is back on track."

"The wish of the bulls was finally realized today," says Brenda Kelly, Market Analyst for IG "The question now is whether or not, in the cold light of underlying fundamentals, this level of positivity can be sustained and what degree of profit-taking there will be."

With files Reuters reporter Leah Schnurr and from Globe Staff

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