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The day the stock market forgot to crash

As fast as a Wendi Murdoch karate chop, stock markets suddenly soar higher, writes The Motley Fool.

Just when the gold price looked like it could go nowhere but up, poof, it falls back below $1,600.

Was that the top of the market for the gold price, and instead of $2,000 it will tumble all the way back down to $1,000?

We’re not ones for making such predictions. For us, gold is something people wear on their fingers and drape around their necks. Some even stick it in their teeth.

Based on the current stock market action, gold is yesterday’s story. On Tuesday, Wall Street had its biggest rally since March, with strong earnings from companies including IBM and Coca-Cola doing the business.

iAmazing

All that was before yet another blow-out quarter from Apple. Amazingly, for a company already capitalised at close to $350 billion, they reported quarterly revenue up 82% and profits up 125%.

Growth numbers like that are normally reserved for smaller companies, not the second largest publicly quoted company in the world. Look out Exxon Mobil.

In the blink of an eye, the debt woes of Europe and the U.S. debt-ceiling impasse have seemingly been forgotten. Such is the mood of Mr. Market – one day a manic-depressive, the next a raging optimist who can solve the world’s problems, Rupert Murdoch excepted.

The Murdochs, cream pies and one karate chop

Speaking of which, even News Corporation (ASX: NWS) shares are on the rise. In the only piece of good news to come their way in recent weeks, wife Wendi has been dubbed the “heroine of the hour” after karate chopping her 80-year old husband’s cream pie attacker.

Move aside James Murdoch…I think News Corp may have found its next leader, someone on the ball, able to move quickly, decisively, and take control of a situation that could have otherwise rapidly spiralled out of hand.

Boom on

Back here in Australia, the corporate news is just as optimistic. BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), the world’s biggest miner, reported stronger than expected coal production and an 11th straight annual iron ore production record.

Chinese demand drove iron ore prices to an all-time high, and it seems they could go even higher. According to Bloomberg, Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, said this month it sees no slowdown in demand from China as the country seeks to build 36 million low-income houses in the next five years.

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Carbon Tax? Not the Big Australian.

The fresh stock

Joining in the corporate action, although not to anywhere the same extent as Apple — who are in a league of their own — and BHP  — who are enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime mining boom — is boring old Woolworths (ASX: WOW).

Proving that for all the doom and gloom out there in the non-mining economy, Aussie battlers can’t actually survive without eating, Woolies posted a 4.7% per cent increase in sales for its full year, with gains in the final quarter exceeding expectations.

There’s life in the old dog yet, despite the Woolies’ share price being flat over the past 4 years.

Embrace pessimism

For some time now The Motley Fool has been urging readers to view the market’s pessimism, and the stock prices that pessimism brings, as an opportunity to buy shares on the cheap.

Plenty of so-called experts claim they can help you time the market, buying low and selling high. Days like today, when the market soars in the face of almost universal pessimism, prove it’s virtually impossible to achieve.

But don’t just take it from us.

John Bogle, legendary founder of Vanguard, widely acknowledged as the most respected mutual fund company in the world, has this to say about market timing…

After nearly 50 years in this business, I do not know of anybody who has done it successfully and consistently. I don’t even know anybody who knows anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.”

Find out more in a free Motley Fool report titled “Read this before the market crashes“.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Gold back up again? Wendi Murdoch to star in Kung Fu Panda 3?

Stay tuned, Fools.

Of the companies mentioned, Bruce Jackson has an interest in Apple, BHP and Woolworths. The Motley Fool’s disclosure policy is no cream pie.

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