BOSTON — Just a number!?!?
Last week, the folks in the know barely knew how to deal with a Dow at 10000. They wanted to say "milestone," but then went to great lengths to say it's no big deal ... lots of comment about "just another number."
To which I say - and I believe I am quoting immortal words of the Bard, here - Puh!
It's just another number in the same way that a million bucks is just another sum of money. Maybe it is compared with $999,999, but it's still a tidy pile o' bucks. And it's a lot wealthier than $900,000 in much the same way that Dow 10000 is miles richer than 9000.
It's more than just a number.
Here's a point of reference. Back in 1990, the Nikkei 225, Tokyo's main stock market index, sat perched at 38,000, and for the Dow - mired around 2700 - 3000 looked like a pipe dream.
Japan Inc. moved through global financial currents like some unsinkable dreadnought. And the US business community was sinking into a recession.
But worlds have wobbled on their axes - a recession in Japan of unprecedented length, a record-breaking economic expansion in the US. The Dow has since more than tripled to break 10000. The Nikkei, having sunk recently near 13,000, has finally struggled back above 15,000.
It's a huge swing in numbers and fortunes, and it represents a triumph of dynamics. The US market has been left relatively free to expand and directly benefit a wide array of workers and investors. While Japan has been shackled by an Asian model that attempts to regulate markets to primarily benefit those in power.
So 10000 seems a confirmation that the US economic machine that carried the Dow through the "impossible" barriers of 7000, 8000, and 9000 is on the right path, and working.