KAI RYSSDAL: Investors spent the day savoring the possibility of yet another big merger. That hostile Alcoa bid for its Canadian rival, Alcan, had tongues wagging on Wall Street. It was no small factor in sending the Dow Industrials to yet another record high. And its 24th positive close in the past 27 days that Wall Street’s been working.
Historical comparisons can be tricky, of course. Past performance is no guarantee of future success. But the Dow’s on a winning streak we haven’t seen since Charles Lindbergh made a name for himself — back in 1927.
We asked Marketplace’s Amy Scott whether this market has enough lift to keep it in the sky.
AMY SCOTT: Deal mania is one factor pumping up the market. Recent takeover bids for ABN Amro, Cablevision, Dow Jones and now Alcan have investors betting on the next takeover target.
Better-than-expected corporate earnings haven’t hurt either. Most S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter profits. And they’re up more than 9 percent on average. Forecasters had predicted more like 3.5 percent.
But some market strategists worry about the troubled housing sector. More subprime borrowers are defaulting on their mortgages.
Market analyst Charles Rotblut, with research firm Zacks.com, says stock investors are ignoring the downside.
CHARLES ROTBLUT: Slow economic growth, gas prices at over $3 at the pump. There’s just this underlying bullish sentiment that’s continuing to drive the market.
Some market-watchers are thinking “bubble.” But strategist Al Goldman, with A.G. Edwards, predicts a short-term correction rather than a pop. He says the Dow has risen 11 percent in less than two months. It can’t keep up that kind of pace forever.
AL GOLDMAN: So if someone is thinking about putting additional money into the market at this time, I would suggest taking a walk around the block, and wait until we get some sort of a pullback that works off short-term excesses.
If the market rises too much, Goldman says that could put a damper on the deals that have been driving stocks higher. He says the mergers and acquisitions frenzy will die down if prices get too high.
In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.
RYSSDAL: As enthusiastic as the markets were today, imagine what things might have been like without the specter of a Fed meeting on the calendar. Bernanke and company meet Wednesday on interest rates.
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