Stock prices as measured by the S&P 500 have risen some 190% from the low in March of 2009. The spectacular thrust this bull market has seen has put stocks above their moving average price levels by a wide margin. Our most recent data indicate the current price level of the S&P 500 is about 33% above its four year moving average price, which is exactly one standard deviation from the mean going back to 1931. We point this out to highlight two facts:
1) history suggests that stock prices could continue to surge higher relative to their four year moving average, as they did in 1936, 1946, 1955, 1987 and 1998
2) history suggests that item number 1 is not a precondition for major stock market weakness as evidenced by declines of 20% or more in 1938, 1961, 1966, 1968, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1990, 1998 and 2007.