John Hussman's most recent weekly comment contains the following insights, with which we happen to agree wholeheartedly:
In recent weeks, the dominant view of investors and analysts has shifted clearly to the expectation that the U.S. economy is in recovery. Appearing to seal the deal for some analysts was the third consecutive increase in the index of leading economic indicators. For that index, interest rate spreads and the S&P 500 Index have been the strongest contributors in recent months, as 10-year yields have shot higher from near 2% at the beginning of the year to about 4% before retreating a bit, and stocks have similarly rebounded from deeply oversold levels. Unfortunately, as I've noted before, there is little information content in mean reversion following extreme moves, and that's what the LEI is picking up here–-to a much greater extent than has typically been the case at the end of recessions. Put another way, the case for an economic recovery is based largely on mean reversion from the early 2009 extremes (not on improvements in jobless claims or other measures to a level that is on par with prior recoveries).
Taking the rally in stocks as an indicator of economic recovery (which the LEI largely does), and then taking the presumption of an economic recovery as a reason to buy stocks, all strikes me as circular reasoning.