Stocks Going Straight Up? Don't Bet On It

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Stocks: straight up from here? Don't bet on it. This is a rare year: with the exception of one notable down day (last Tuesday) it's been almost straight up in 2012.

The S&P is now up 11.1 percent for the year; this is the best quarterly performance since Q4 2011 (when it was also up 11.1 percent) and the best first quarter since 1991.

Statistically, the market usually has a selloff at some point in the year. The good folks at Standard and Poor's tell me that on average the market will be 8 percent lower than where it was on December 31st on the prior year at some point in an average year.

With a close at 1257 on December 31, that would imply the S&P would go to 1,156 at some point this year. That's a long way from 1,400, where we are today, a roughly 18% correction


1) the bond market selloff continues, the key player is the iShares Treasury Bond Fund getting hit hard again today, down another 1.6 percent on heavy volume, to the lowest level since October.

2) What's up with gold? Gold Index, a basket of gold stocks, at new lows, gold down 2.5 percent today...bottom line: less fear.

Anything you can say about gold has to be considered against that huge gold melt-up last year, from $1500 to $1900 in two months. It's very hard to impress gold guys now: as fear is receding, it's helping stocks, hurting gold. If it gets down to $1400 or so you will almost certainly get more interest, or if inflation really heats up you will also get more interest. But we have to see notable inflation.

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