Those now-iconic words uttered by the relieved George Bailey, in It's a Wonderful Life capture the unfettered enthusiasm of the past six months—a period that saw a 27.5% increase in the DJIA leading up to the New Year. But while the New Year is still young, the hope of peace and prosperity that underpins those celebrations is already starting to grow old—at least in terms of the stock market rally. After all, fourth quarter earnings from bellwether Alcoa—a raw materials provider—leaves investors and consumers alike with little hope that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's "green shoots" are surviving the cold streak of winter. Signals are mixed for the private investor—while Christmas sales came in slightly higher than expected, unemployment was also surprisingly up in December. The question is whether the stock market bull of late 2009 can continue its run as the stock market bull of 2010.
"Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind"
Okay, maybe the six months stemming from September '08 through March '09 should be like the old acquaintance of Auld Lang Syne...(read the entire story here).