A strong showing in corporate earnings was at least one reason for the bull market stampede last week. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average hit a new record, closing at 1,209.46; topped that one on Thursday, at 1,219.52; and continued up on Friday to 1,226.20 up 29.90 points for the week.
''First-quarter reports were being awaited with a sense of trepidation, because if they were good, that would be a reaffirmation of economic recovery,'' says Monte Gordon, vice-president at Dreyfus Corporation. When the reports came out positive, the market applauded, he says. Auto, oil, and some high-tech stocks led the pack, with General Motors and IBM in front.
Another thing egging on investors was a feeling that the money supply is steadying, and that interest rates ''at worst will stabilize and at best come down,'' Mr. Gordon says. Oil prices are also steadying.
Michael Lipper, president of Lipper Analytical Services Inc., says the ''market went up (last) week because it didn't go down.'' There was every reason for the market to slip into a correction, he says, but since it didn't happen, it went up instead.
''The market is overextended, the economic news is good, but not great, and the budget deficit looks like it's getting bigger and bigger,'' Mr. Lipper ticked off. These things should have sparked a setback.
But what happened? Larry Wachtel, vice-president at Prudential-Bache Securities Inc., says that every time there appeared to be profit taking, investors on the sidelines jumped in at the lower prices. ''This keeps spiraling ,'' he says, but the upward twist can't go up forever. He and other analysts still see the market as strong and sustained.
''But,'' cautions Gordon from Dreyfus, ''you can't avoid the inevitable.''