S&P has best month in 9 years

The S&P 500, the most accurate barometer of the market, had its biggest monthly gain since 2000.

The benchmark index soared 9.4 percent in April as many companies reported better-than-expected earnings, lifting the spirits of investors decimated by the never-ending financial crisis. Companies ranging from Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) to International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) to Ford Motor Co. (F) issued results that surpassed Wall Street's admittedly low expectations.

Investors might giggle with glee knowing that the benchmark index for U.S. stocks must rise only a few more percent points to erase its 2009 loss. But some experts are urging caution.

"The earnings, though better-than-expected, are still quite depressed," said David Kovacs, chief investment officer for quantitative strategies at Turner Investment Strategies of Berwyn, PA, in an interview with Daily Finance. "Things are getting better but the market has gotten a little ahead of itself."

Kovacs and other analysts argue that the recovery will not proceed in a straight line. Stock markets move up and down many times before beginning to rally on a sustained basis. Of course, the economy needs to cooperate as well.

Nonetheless, Kovacs sees reason for optimism such as a slow down in the rate of decline in home prices along with slight improvements in unemployment and consumer confidence. He also noted renewed strength in the credit market.

Provided that the economy improves, investors may have to wait until September to know if the market is rebounding for sure

"At that point, there my be greater level of visibility for companies' prospects," Kovacs said.
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