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Pro Analysis

Santoli: It's 1998 all over again for investors

Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and her husband former U.S. president Bill Clinton greet supporters during a primary night event on June 7, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York.
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Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and her husband former U.S. president Bill Clinton greet supporters during a primary night event on June 7, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York.

What the world needs now is more attention to commonality beneath what might seem starkly different realms.

A look at how today's stock market resembles that of the year 1998 won't ease global conflict, but it's worth doing to illuminate how this phase of the cycle is playing out.

Even those of us who were covering Wall Street in '98 and are now citing parallels wouldn't argue the periods feel all that similar, even if now again the news is of Clintons and Gingrichs. The economy was stronger, the public more enthralled with stocks, the country more confident.

Back then, banks were growing bold and unbound as Citigroup was formed through a historic merger; today the banks are bashful and burdened. And Treasury yields started with a crooked number then — a 6, to be specific.

Last week, there was some harkening to the '98 market when the Standard & Poor's 500 came within just 3 points on Friday of closing at a new record high each day of the week. It would have been the first time that happened since early 1998, though this would have been a mere curiosity and not proof of any genuine synchronicity with 18 years ago.

But there are other more meaningful echoes to consider.