The Amazing Ride Isn't Over Yet

Dazzling the bulls and confounding the bears, the U.S. stock market has steadily climbed to heights that only six months ago seemed unreachable. The Dow Jones industrial average, at 4485, has zoomed nearly 17% so far this year, with the broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock index keeping pace. It's no mystery why: The Federal Reserve's yearlong campaign to slow economic growth without causing a recession--the "soft landing"--seemed to be falling into place. Long-term interest rates tumbled, while corporate profits continued to exceed expectations.

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