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OPINION

Amazon to Rescue

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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They say records are made to be broken. Typically, record-breaking performances are rooted and cheered on and universally seen as worthy. That’s not the case with the stock market rally, born out of the ashes of one of the worst meltdowns in stock market history. Each move higher is greeted with scorn. The bandwagon that typically overflows for the victors has been bulging at the seams for the losers- still calling for the inevitable crash.

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Despite Thursday’s massive drubbing, we are in the midst of the second longest stock market rally in American history.

Last week, the market took its biggest hit since that magical February 11th session on earnings disappointments and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) number that came in far less than expected. Bad news and moving stocks lower means that the Fed magic is limited. However, does it also mean this time that the party is just about over?

After the close on Thursday, several well-known names and potential bellwether stocks posted earnings that beat the Street. The name that will hog the headlines is Amazon (AMZN), which simply crushed earnings expectations and took off like a rocket. Can it save the day or is the economy too impotent to support stocks at its current levels? That’s a big- time question.

The answer is complicated; this is a company that should be the proxy for the U.S. economy; yet its actual coattails are limited. There are transportation names that tote items back and forth and in the case of my own home, every day. (I told my wife to cut a deal with FedEx (FDX) and to make the living room a distribution center.)

We’ll see what happens. This is one of those rare moments when professional investors and individuals are on the same page. According to the Bank of America (BAC), their elite investors have been net sellers of stocks for 13 straight weeks. That’s plain nuts. I should say that in January, they were making record buys, but they were so spooked so fast. Meanwhile, there have been outflows in funds for five of the past six weeks.

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How does the market go up with no buyers? I am not sure, but let’s talk about the ultimate contrarian buy signal.

Last month, Americans took home $50.0 billion more in disposable income but only increased spending by $12.8 billion. As a result, savings surged to 5.4% soaring since November’s dip to 4.9%.

Something is really eating at consumers, and now it’s eating at the market, too.

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