Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Stocks Shrug off Higher Gas Prices to Push Dow above 13,000

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Stocks Shrug off Higher Gas Prices to Push Dow above 13,000

Article excerpt

Better economic news from Europe helped lift US stocks past the symbolic plateau. The Dow last closed above 13,000 in May 2008, before the collapse of the housing market.

Buoyed by better financial news coming out of Europe, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally closed above 13,000 Tuesday, the first time it had closed above this level since May of 2008, just before the collapse of the housing market.

Stock market analysts said the close at 13,005.12 is important for a number of reasons. First, it may prompt some investors who are sitting on the sidelines to rethink why they are not invested. Second, it will create a positive headline that may resonate on Main Street.

"For Main Street it's a symbol," says Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Oregon. "For some people, closing over 13,000 may say to them that the economy is a little bit better, that maybe they don't have to worry so much about their jobs and retirement funds."

Before Tuesday's close, the Dow average had climbed over 13,000 four other times recently. However, each day sellers entered the market near the close, knocking the average below the milestone.

The Dow still has some distance to go to break its all-time record of 14,164, set Oct. 9, 2007. "That will be more interesting once it passes that milestone," says Mr. Dickson.

Some investors may have also been cheered Tuesday to see the price of crude oil fall below $107 a barrel. If crude prices were to continue to retreat, it could relieve some pressure on consumers' wallets, as prices for gasoline at the pump have been rising since October. On Tuesday, gasoline prices rose another 2 cents a gallon to a national average of almost $3.72 a gallon, according to AAA.

"I consider rising gasoline prices to be the most serious threat to the economic recovery at this time," writes Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pa., in an email.

Some Wall Street observers said another catalyst for the Dow's rise was the steadily improving economic news, including a drop in new claims for unemployment benefits and improved business confidence. …

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