Investors donned their rally caps, propelling U.S. stocks to multi-year highs. The NASDAQ Composite closed up 46 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2906, its highest level since December 2000 (admittedly, a long way off from the NASDAQ's March, 2000 all-time high of 5,048). The tech-heavy index is up 12 percent this year, its best start since 1991.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 156 points, or 1.2 percent, to 12,862, the highest level on a closing basis since May, 2008.The Dow has to rise another 10 percent to reach its record close of 14,164, hit October 9, 2007. The S&P 500 added 1.4 percent to 1,344, for a fifth straight week of gains.Although the broader index is off to its best start to a year since 1987, it still hasn't returned to its own post-crisis high.
This rally might have some legs, because it's grounded in solid economic data. Theshowed that the economy created 243,000 new jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest it's been since February 2009. Lost in the jobs fanfare was news that the non-manufacturing sector expanded at a faster rate than expected in January.
I know what you're thinking: we've been here before, I won't get fooled again and the end is just around the corner. Before you go into some sort of Punxsutawney Phil-induced hibernation, consider a simple fact: you don't ever have to be 100 percent in or out of the market. In fact, the all-or-nothing investors tend to see the worst performance. They cling to their world views far too long, only to finally throw in the towel at the wrong time.
Could the market disappoint? Of course it could. But with a well-diversified portfolio, you don't have to sweat it. Just ride out the ups and downs, rebalancing along the way. For a Friday in February before the Big Game, just enjoy the upbeat news as long as it lasts. Oh, and Go Blue!