What's wrong with this picture?

Nothing. Get used to it.

The bubble recently proscribed for the US stock market must be made of the same stuff used for shrink wrap - unburstable.

Dark visions of a deflation once deluging global markets turned out to be shortsighted.

The ingrained instinct to worry about inflation now seems arcane.

Hand-wringing over record-high stock valuations has lost its grip.

The US economy keeps cranking out better report cards.

So saddle up that big beautiful bovine and bask in the bountiful embrace of the most bodacious bull market of all time.

Call me a Brady Bunch wanna-be, but every possible calamity has been hurled at the US economy: financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Latin America, not to mention manias and Monica.

It's the Teflon economy.

The economic numbers consistently show stronger than expected growth and lower than expected inflation.

We can give you cause for concern - Y2K, oil prices, Brazil, China, a slowdown in Europe - but they seem unlikely to sink this gravy boat.

Last week, for example, brought glowing reports of better-than-expected retail sales, productivity, and inflation plus the end of Japan's bear market (see page 12).

So it should be no surprise to see the Dow Jones Industrial Average edge towards 10000.

We can still hear a John Wayne warning, "It's quiet out there, too quiet," but that may stem from too many viewings of "Rio Bravo."

So on the assumption that the bull market is still intact, we assembled some thoughts on its likely beneficiaries: banks, automakers, the Internet, retailers, healthcare, and technology.

The six-part series starts today.

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