How the Stock Market and Economy Really Work
By Kel Kelly - Mises
The stock market does not work the way most people think. A commonly held belief — on Main Street as well as on Wall Street — is that a stock-market boom is the reflection of a progressing economy: as the economy improves, companies make more money, and their stock value rises in accordance with the increase in their intrinsic value. A major assumption underlying this belief is that consumer confidence and consequent consumer spending are drivers of economic growth.
A stock-market bust, on the other hand, is held to result from a drop in consumer and business confidence and spending — due to inflation, rising oil prices, high interest rates, etc., or for no reason at all — that leads to declining business profits and rising unemployment. Whatever the supposed cause, in the common view a weakening economy results in falling company revenues and lower-than-expected future earnings, resulting in falling intrinsic values and falling stock prices.
This understanding of bull and bear markets, while held by academics, investment professionals, and individual investors alike, is technically correct if viewed superficially but is substantially misconceived because it is based on faulty finance and economic theory.
In fact, the only real force that ultimately makes the stock market or any market rise (and, to a large extent, fall) over the longer term is simply changes in the quantity of money and the volume of spending in the economy. Stocks rise when there is inflation of the money supply (i.e., more money in the economy and in the markets). This truth has many consequences that should be considered. [Continued]
See also: Stocks Kick Off September on Strong Note - WSJ