What is driving the stock market rally and how long can it last?

New York Stock Exchange workers finish up trading minutes before the closing bell at the Exchange, Tuesday, April 3, 2007 in New York. Stocks surged Tuesday on signs of resilience in the housing market and the U.S. consumer, with falling oil prices giving investors an extra reason to rally. The Dow Jones industrials gained more than 120 points. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson

"If you build a better mousetrap, people will buy it. Company stocks represent the best value now for available capital."
-- M.C.

"The stock market is being artificially supported by a weak dollar. Foreign buyers can buy our stocks at a discount when adjusted for the currency."
-- R.C.

"Unprecedented liquidity is causing the market to soar.  Stagflation will bring it crashing down."
-- Bill K., New York

"The stock market is being driven almost entirely by yen-financed buying, and behaves as if it is now a policy tool being used to counter the impact of an exhausted real estate bubble. 
-- Michael G., New York

"With unemployment at a low, I think Americans who are planning for the future are pouring billions of dollars into the market through their 401(k)'s, IRA's and Keogh's."
-- Dick H., New Jersey

"The cyclical slump in the real estate sector is a driving force to the rally in the stock market."
-- Ed S., California

"Today, there are more people investing into our global economy compared to recent years which is the driving force for our rising stock markets. Until something comes along that places fear into investors, such as inflation, a continued weak dollar around the globe or massive lay-offs, the markets will perform well for every investor who wants to grow their portfolio."
-- Jack, North Carolina

"I believe that the stock market is being driven by such large gains in the real estate market (which is slowing down). The economy has always done better when real estate/new construction has done well. New construction has such a large "spill over" effect in so many areas. Just like anything, what goes up must come down."
-- Corey D., Maryland

More comments...

"Asian and European markets, along with a lower dollar."
-- R.M.

"How long, how high is anyone’s guess. Part of what we have been hearing is that people aren’t prepared for retirement and that Social Security is in need of an overhauling.  If the average investor is preparing for the future, then using the equity markets combined with an asset allocation properly proportioned and diversified can create opportunity with any correction that comes about.  If you are afraid of a major decline in the market, there is always your mattress!"
-- Cary W., Arizona

"People have money and want to spend it. All the major world indices look just about the same - it's a global bull market. A possible trigger? The Shanghai index is up 280% since mid 2005 and has formed a parabolic chart - if it drops they all go down. This won't happen till the Chinese public are in the market to the greatest degree."
-- Garry, B, Canada

"The “rational exuberance” is driven by overall favorable earnings reports (assisted by mediocre expectations), vibrant M&A activity, and private equity with deep pockets. How long will it last? Does anybody really know?
-- Sean, Littleton CO.

"Must say I'm nervous with the ongoing upward momentum.  The main reason I'm still in the market is that many others are nervous about it too. I don't see that we've reached complacency yet.  Also a lot of retail investors are still sitting on the sidelines waiting for an entry point. But it's hard to relax; the next shoe could drop any day now."
-- Jill, New Mexico

"This market rally is more of a global rally which is really unprecedented in its size & scope. It could continue in this country for some time."
-- Tom V., Massachusetts

"I have no idea what is going on and how long it can last.  Most of the people in our community are working two jobs and still going backwards.   That's not my definition of a bull market!"
-- Daniel L., Minnesota

More comments...

"It's simple: earnings, the economy, and the fact that people believe the fed will have to lower. Bottom line is we're in one of the most attractive times to buy in stocks.
-- Eric, California

"The base question is when will investors starting pulling out in mass quantities.  What will trigger the sell off?  It could be anything and with a run up this high in the markets, it’s only a matter of time..."
-- Rog, Texas

"Capitalism is driving the market. It will last as long as necessary; possibly into 2009 or longer."
-- Rudy, California

"The thought that Pres. Bush has only 18 months left in office."
-- Timothy J.

"The investors that made money during the housing bubble are now putting their money in the stock market, good returns compound the rally by enticing more to invest in the market. The unfortunate people that are hurting from the housing bubble outnumber the ones that made money from it causing our overall consumption to fall. I feel we are building skyscrapers on stilts, the higher the market goes the harder the fall will be. I predict that fall to come no longer than July '08."                                                                                                   -- Robert H., Arizona

"With all the liquidity in the markets and the benign situation of the economy, I believe that we can keep going higher..."                                                                                              -- Alan G.

"The market is being driven by historically low interest rates and low unemployment. There will be pull backs, but we will continue to trade at higher ranges throughout the year."
-- Aron A.

"It will last until May 8 -- the Fed needs to make statements which encourage a stronger dollar and suppress speculation. This will merely stall the market. The real bear market will be when the Asian bubble finally pops."                                                                                       -- Rob M.

More comments...

"By definition, a market is supply and demand for product. This market is no different: It is driven by short supply of stocks as private equity and corporate buybacks take stock off the table. At the same time, it is driven higher by consumer's demand for the returns provided by stocks as they watch returns on real estate dwindle. It lasts as long as investors continue to have the capital to invest."                                                                                           -- D.R.  

"I think the major driving forces that are fueling the current selective rally are the extremely high levels of liquidity, short covering and global growth expectations. I don't think subprime problems will extend much beyond the sector, but I do think the Asian stock market should be closely monitored."
-- Jim B., New York

"The market is being driven by easy credit, obscene leverage, and pure speculation. This "roller coaster" has only seen the "rise" so far. When it reaches its apex (in the not too distant future), the fall will be terrifying....eventually carrying the markets far below the October 2002 lows. Buckle up!"
-- Rich G., Maryland

"A combination of shorts getting trapped and being forced to cover positions and the retail trader coming back into the market. This can last for a while...the objective of this wave would take the Dow to roughly 16,500 before a more serious correction occurs."
-- Mike V., Canada