三伏天到了，股市也多了很多悲观的声音。事实上，事情并没有看上去那么糟。虽说现在市场仍然有可能重现“约翰•雅各布•拉斯各布时刻”【拉斯各布曾任杜邦公司和通用汽车公司的财务主管，后出资修建了纽约帝国大厦。上世纪20年代，他非常看好股市，1929年他在接受《妇女家庭杂志》（Ladies Home Journal）采访时信心十足地鼓励美国人全民炒股，并表示只要炒了股，人人都能致富。然而这篇文章发表后才两个月，华尔街即宣告崩盘。——译注】，但从本周的市场动向来看，眼下仍然有五条看好股市的理由。
“技术流”的股市分析师往往三言两语就能用术语把你绕得云山雾罩的，比如什么“弃婴形态”（e the Abandoned Baby formation），一会儿又是什么“吊死鬼形态”（the Hanging Man）。你完全不必理会这些吓人的术语，只需要理解一件事就好：虽说股市交易数据代表了所有股民的心理预期，不过许多对冲基金的交易员和经纪公司的策略师们往往会着重研究其中的一个特定数据——200日移动平均线。这样做是有充分的理由的。如果广域市场指数结结实实地掉到200日移动平均线以下，则标志着市场将长期走跌。不过只要市场位于200天移动平均线以上，那么一般来说就会出现牛市。6月份的交易就是在考验纽交所综指、纳斯达克综指和标普500指数是否能够坚守200天移动平均线。市场通过了这次考验，在6月底出现了回弹。上次市场跨到200日移动平均线以上时正好是在一年前，于是市场从9月到12月间呈现了一个大牛市。
本周美国的汽油价格为每加仑3.62美元，比去年同期贵了0.85美元，但仍比今年四月份油价最高的时候便宜了0.28美元。曾有专家预测，在美国独立日（the Independence Day，7月4日——译注）前后，油价或将突破每加仑5美元关口，但这种情况并没出现，油价不升反降。汽油价格上涨会抑制消费性支出，反之，汽油价格下降则有利于促进消费支出。原油期货一度在五月份爬升到114美元的高位，但自那时起至今已下跌了16%。另外，美国能源部（The Department of Energy）近日决定释放3，064万桶战略储备原油，目前对这些石油的竞标刚刚结束。到本月月底，至少部分战略储备原油就会化身汽油，登陆美国的各加油站，使汽油价格继续下降，进而刺激消费性支出。
本月的宏观经济数据虽然依然不景气，但其中也有一个亮点：消费信贷支出有所增长。这是2008年8月以来的第二次。如果人们刷信用卡刷得比前多了，这多多少少证明了他们对自己的财务情况有足够的自信，因此可以贷上一点款去旅游，或者只是单纯地在食品杂货店刷卡多买一些东西。分析人士认为，这次消费信贷支出的上涨或许与五月份的高油价有关。不过如果纵向比较一下，你就会发现，仅就货币债务来看，消费者现在的处境要比前几年好了一些。美联储（the Federal Reserve）指出，美国人均债务支出占可支配收入的百分比已经降至11.5%，这是16年来的最低水平，而且比2007年10月份创下13.9%的最高纪录有了明显的下降。
The dog days of summer have brought with them a lot of whimpering about the stock market. The truth is, things aren't as bad as they seem. At the risk of having a John Jakob Raskob moment, especially in light of the action this week, here are five reasons to be optimistic about the stock market right now.
1. The trading charts say so.
Technical analysis can quickly lead you into a rabbit hole of terminology like the Abandoned Baby formation or the Hanging Man. Feel free to ignore that stuff until you write your Wall Street thriller. You just need to understand one thing: while stock-trading data represents the sum of everyone's opinion on the market, many hedge fund traders and brokerage strategists study one piece of that data in particular—the 200-day moving average. For good reason. When the broad market indices fall firmly below the 200-day average, it signals an extended bearish period ahead. As long as the market is above it, things generally are biased to go higher. Trading in June was mostly an extended test of support at the 200-day moving average for the NYSE and Nasdaq composites as well as the S&P 500. The market passed that test, bouncing upward at the end of June. The last time we moved off the 200-day moving average was just under a year ago, when we had a great September to December bull run.
2. We've been through this before.
A bubble that bursts, big losses in the stock market, and a long economic recovery that never seems to quite get off the ground. This isn't the first time we've seen that scenario, except the victims this time have been homeowners, not day traders. Recall what occurred in the years after the dotcom bubble burst. The market bottomed out in 2002, then recovered modestly before hitting the summer doldrums in 2003. But then stocks rallied strongly in the last quarter of that year. The market did the same in 2004. Then again in 2005. Each time was a step higher that ended up generating 8% to 10% gains each year.
Could past be prologue? Certainly last year's stock market acted like 2003, and some analysts on Wall Street, including Barclay's Capital, are advising clients to expect the pattern to continue this year.
3. Stocks are cheap.
Maybe you're not sold on market patterns as a predictor of future action. That's okay. Let's look at fundamentals instead. Right now, the companies in the S&P 500 are trading at just 15-times trailing-year earnings, the cheapest the market has been since 1994. Looking ahead, the S&P 500 is telling us stocks are even more of a bargain, trading at just 13.6 times 2011 expected net income. And that's with the market already knowing the first quarter's results and having a good sense of how the second quarter played out, since the vast majority of early reporting companies have beaten expectations. By the forward P/E measure, stocks are the cheapest now since the end of 1985. If you invested in an S&P 500 fund then, you'd be sitting on a 530% gain right now. Just saying.
4. Oil and gas prices are falling.
At $3.62 a gallon nationally this week, gasoline is 85 cents a gallon pricier than it was a year ago. But compared to April, when the gallon price peaked this year, gas is 28 cents cheaper and well away from the $5 gas that pundits predicted would ruin our Independence Day. Just as rising gas prices hurt consumer spending, falling gas prices help. Oil futures have slid 16% since cresting at $114 a barrel in May. And guess what? The Department of Energy just finished accepting bids on the 30.64 million barrels of oil being released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. By the end of the month, at least some of that will be landing at filling stations and affecting gasoline prices where it really counts: in your wallet.
5. Consumer demand is growing.
There was one bright spot in the otherwise gloomy economic data that started this month: Consumer credit spending increased for just the second time since August 2008. When people charge more on their credit cards, it is a small sign they feel good enough about their financial picture that they can take on a little more debt, commit to a vacation, or simply buy more at the grocery store. Critics contend that uptick could have been spurred by May's high gas prices. But take a broader look and you'll see consumers are in a better position now than they have been in years, as far as their monetary obligations go. According to the Federal Reserve, the percentage of debt service payments to disposable income has eased to 11.5%. That's the lowest level in 16 years and down notably from the peak of 13.9% in October 2007.
The bottom line: Sure there are things to worry about (the debt ceiling, defaults in Europe, another season of The Apprentice), but keep some perspective. Just because the stock market and the economy aren't rushing at a breakneck pace doesn't mean there isn't growth ahead. It may just mean that, finally, we are starting to live in a bubble-free economy.