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The Dow’s 9,000 benchmark
With the DJIA breaking through a key psychological barrier, is the market rally gathering or running out of steam?
 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average “broke through a psychological barrier of 9,000” Thursday, said Ben Steverman in BusinessWeek. Which just goes to show that stock-market fluctuations “don’t always make sense.” Corporate profits are off by a third and 500,000 people filed for unemployment last week, yet all major indexes jumped 2 percent? To some degree, this is a psychological rally—things are less bad than expected. But there’s also some “panic buying.”

The markets don’t seem to be “getting ahead of themselves,” said Scott Cendrowski in Fortune, at least not by too much. Sure, stocks might settle down a bit after this strong rally, but several analysts say this bull market has some life in it yet.

Perhaps, but when I “Googled ‘9,000 dow,’” I got a Paul Krugman blog post—from Oct. 8, 2008, said Justin Fox in Time. You remember October 2008, right? “The financial world was still falling apart,” and nobody was sure how many “gloomy days” lay ahead. No one can say for sure where the market is heading, but I’d tread carefully—there’s probably too much growth, and hope, priced in the market now.

Stocks are risky, said Chuck Jaffe in MarketWatch. But if you’ve got your portfolio stashed in money-market funds, its probably a smart time to head “to the exits with the masses.” Investors moved $15 billion out of money funds last week, bringing the “out-the-door total to $248 billion since Jan.13.” But there’s still $3.6 trillion locked up—and most of it isn’t “making a cent.”

 

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