Q: How does S&P explain the market's being down so far this year -- and justify the forecast of a 4% rise by yearend? (By the way, was that 4% up from the present level or from the start of the year?)
A: It would be 4% up from the present level of 1197 and 2.7% from yearend 2004. We're a bit surprised that the market has been weak so far, but would note that May was the best month of the year for stocks. The S&P 500 gained 3% last month. While we don't expect a 3% gain every month, we don't think a 4% rise over the remainder of the year is extraordinary or out of the question.