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Making Sense of an Incredible Rally

The past 12 months have provided a ride to remember--and to forget.

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Exactly one year ago, it seemed that the end of the world had arrived. March 9, 2009, was the low point for the mind-rattling crash of the U.S. stock market.

Although problems and uncertainties still abound, at least the financial system doesn't seem to be hovering on the verge of collapse, as it did one year ago. And there have been signs of revival--however meager and halfhearted--in the economy, in corporate results, and in the job market. That's been enough to propel stock markets to superb gains over the past 12 months.

It's impossible to know where the market is headed from here. But crossing the March 2010 threshold has revealed some important lessons for investors--a few of which are not obvious.

Gregg Wolper does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.