The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA) and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (NYSE: SPY) have been on a bull market stampede since March 2009.
But the overall American economy has not been feeling as bullish.
The policies under Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke favored the stock market. Low interest rates made stocks more attractive than bonds or other investments. That contributed greatly to the strong performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart below).
Writing in The Washington Post, economic columnist Robert Samuelson states the economy of the United States might finally be in position to feel positive, too.
In, “Is the Economic Slog Really Over,” Samuelson points to a number of factors from a number of economists that paint a bullish picture for the American economy. Some economists see unemployment falling. Others see corporate profits rising. It looks like oil and natural gas prices will continue to fall, making energy cheaper. That puts more money into the pocket of the American consumer.
It is consumer spending that provides about 70 percent of the gross domestic product in the United States, so that is obviously a good thing for the economy!
What is the play for investors? Buy stocks for the long term, as always. If more spending by consumers is appealing as an investment strategy, then look at blue chips like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). Both are great companies with solid dividends. Many other stocks with robust dividends are appealing to income investors, such as ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), the world’s largest oil and natural gas entity.
There are many other excellent stocks that are suitable for long term investors. But, most important of all, investors should not try to time the stock market and get in for the long term. That has been and will always be the best way to benefit from bull markets in stocks and growth in the American economy!