Dow surges past 10000 for first time in a year

The Dow rose 144 points Wednesday to close above 10000 for the first time in a year.

Richard Drew/AP
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark Oct. 14, the first time that's happened since Oct. 3, 2008.

Ooooh, Dow 10000!

Ignore it. It's just an artificial number – and, as a representation of the broader market, not as good as the S&P 500, which on Wednesday reached 1092 points, its highest level in a year and up 61 percent from its low in March.

But this is it – the Great U-Turn, the Big Cahuna of Recovery. Optimism is back, dude!

Or overblown. Lots of analysts inside and outside the United States worry that investors have gotten ahead of themselves. If the pace of US economic growth slackens this quarter, as many expect, then Dow 10000 could be short-lived.

You're just a sourpuss. Everyone knows the stock market predicts the future.

It does – and it doesn't. To quote Ken Goldstein, an economist at The Conference Board: "It's accurately predicted 10 of the last two recessions."

So how come Kenny and all the other crystal-ball gazers use it in their forecasts?

"It's about expectations," he says. "If investors are willing to buy stocks at a higher price, that's an expectation that things are going to get better."

The stock market is one of 10 components that make up The Conference Board's index of leading indicators. "By itself, it's not that accurate," Mr. Goldstein says. "But as a piece of the composite, it adds something."

Well, I bet a lot of people are feeling better now than they did at Dow 6547.

That's the point. People's expectations about the economy are way up since the market hit that low in March. That optimism is a good sign, whether the Dow's at 9000 or 11000.

So, you think we can make 15000 by May?

– You can follow our economic commentary on Twitter.

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