Thu12182014

Business & Real Estate

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in stock activity in 2015.

Volatility continues in the market even though consumer discretionary stocks are the biggest gainers. However, the time has arrived for expert predictors in economics and finance to start throwing their darts and forecast the market’s future.

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Stocks continue to set new highs

Investors tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500 index should feel good – it gained more than 250 points in the past eight weeks after its October lows. The Dow Jones industrial average is also setting records every week, thanks to increases in corporate earnings.

During this stock rise, we haven’t seen any confirmed sell signals, but the proverbial Doom and Gloom have always been a profitable business model for soothsayers. They have a receptive audience right now, because 2008 is still on their minds.

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Ignoring the stock-market antics

As an investor in the stock market, the biggest surprise to grapple with during the holiday season is a hidden pattern that could put us in for an early correction in 2015.

On the positive side, we can look to continue the rally off the October lows and into the first quarter of 2015 before a correction presents itself. However, long-term investors looking for stocks to buy know that the key to successful investing lies in ignoring day-to-day market moves and focusing on longer periods. As we look forward, it’s the ideal time to explore the best stocks to buy for the long haul.

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Market trend remains bullish

While the major averages have been moving sideways since the beginning of November, the trend is still bullish.

When the market opened Friday, another record was set. The jump in oil prices, unchanged interest rates and good reports from China and Europe helped bullish investors stay on track for a fifth week of gains. The market’s strength is also reflected in solid economic reports, good news on inflation and a healthy third-quarter earnings season. More than 75 percent of the Standard & Poor’s 500 companies exceeded profit estimates for the latest quarter.

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Optimism produces stock highs

There’s been a lot of upward stock momentum in recent days. The Dow Jones industrial average set another record Thursday when it closed at 17,652.79 – the 25th time the market posted a new high this year.

These record highs reveal the optimism expressed by investors when they call their brokers. Bullishness is at its highest level since December 2010, while the bearish sentiment predicting that the markets will fall over the next six months has risen to 19.3 percent.

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Stocks surge to all-time highs

Boosted by third-quarter earnings reports, stocks of most classes bounced from lows in mid-October to new record territories.

As long as economic growth remains decent and consumer sentiment high – it’s the highest since July 2007 – investors should feel confident and dismiss concerns about a slowing economy.

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Corporate earnings drive up market

U.S. corporate earnings continue to beat expectations as Wall Street stocks climbed more than 1 percent last week.

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