Thanks For The Rate Cut, But...

The stock market needs better earnings to keep the bears at bay

Even in a stock market that has wowed investors for years, the October surprise was a stunner: In just five trading sessions between Oct. 15 and 21, a lightning-like Dow Jones industrial average soared 550 points, to 8519, a 6.9% gain. Both the Dow and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index have now regained half of what they lost from July 17 to Aug. 31. Buoyed by rapidly rising prices, investors are becoming cautiously optimistic that the vicious bear that roughed them up in August and September has gone into hibernation. "We've seen the lows," declares market analyst Laszlo M. Birinyi of Birinyi Associates Inc. "It gets even better from here."

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