(Hint: It isn't fundamentals)
The run-up in the stock market (the SPX for purposes of this article) has been nothing short of stunning. Since hitting a sell-off bottom on October 4, 2011, the SPX has run-up a nearly non-stop 47.8%. In just the last month, the SPX has run up 7.5%. This is in the face of deteriorating economic indicators and declining corporate revenues. The stock market has for sure taken most observers and professionals by surprise, except for maybe the most passionate "perma-bulls."
Given this incredible move higher in stocks, I wanted to investigate a couple of possibilities for what is fueling this near-parabolic stock rally. Based on what I've been able to come up with, it's pretty clear that stocks are rocketing higher on Fed fuel and not fundamentals. But don't take it from me, it seems that some high profile billionaire investors are unloading their big positions, especially anything related to consumption: Billionaires Are Dumping Stocks. Let's take a look "under the hood" of the economic and financial system and see if we can figure out why.
While Bernanke was giving his report on the economy and monetary policy to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress today, in which he pretty much laid to rest any fears that the Fed would "taper" its monetary policy and bond purchase program anytime soon, I decided to look into some of the Fed's monetary data as reported on the St. Louis Fed website. Specifically I wanted to look at the Adjusted Monetary Base, which is the sum of the currency in circulation plus the commercial bank reserves held at the Fed, because this monetary account is the one directly affected by the QE program. ...