Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dow 14,000

The last time around that the Dow
Hit the level it's gotten to now,
The market was brisk
By taking on risk
As much as the law would allow.

In one sense, 14,000 has no significant meaning. You should not buy or sell based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching this level on the way up, or down. It ain't nothin' but a number. In another sense, any sort of round-numbered market milestone affords the opportunity to reflect on how far we've come, or in this case, come back. At the time of the Dow's previous 14,000 milestone in October 2007, the US market and economy were full of financial hubris, if not outright fraud (at least in the mortgage sector), and headed for a great fall.

This time around, the market's climb reflects the slow receding of fear and building of growth, helped along by the Fed's generous monetary stimulus and shunting of savers into riskier asset classes. While it's not a completely beautiful picture, on balance, things seem less likely headed for a fall than last time around.

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