Stocks Face Long Road Back to Pre-Recession Heights

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The economy may be showing signs of recovery, but the stock market is still a long way off from it's pre-recession highs of October 2007 and it may take new bubbles in the energy and credit markets to bring them back, according to a Wall Street Journal report ($) Wednesday.

Neither, of course, would be desirable, the paper notes, so investors may just have to deal with a slower-than-desired market rebound.

The report points out some impressive numbers:

Despite a 47.5 percent rally since March, the Standard & Poor's 500 index is down $4.8 trillion in market value since October 2007. It would need a 57 percent gain to return to that level.

Among the hardest sectors hit are financials, which account for $1.4 trillion, or nearly a third, of the $4.8 trillion in total losses since October 2007.

Energy companies have also taken a beating, losing some $500 billion in market capitalization since the collapse of Lehman Brothers last year.

Now, those pre-recession levels may have been inflated to begin with, fed by an unsustainable housing bubble and debt-driven profits. But if the market is ever to return to those lofty heights, it will likely have to pace itself.