NEW YORK – The Dow closed above 14,000 on Friday for the first time in more than five years.
It was just a number on a board, but it was enough to raise the hopes of some investors and cause others concern about an overheated market. And it brought reminders of a different era, back before the financial crisis rocked the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average, a gauge of how the entire market is faring, had been rising fairly steadily for about a month. On Friday, strong auto sales and optimism about U.S. job growth pushed it over the mark.
The Dow is now just 155 points away from its record close.
There’s a newfound enthusiasm for the equity market, said Jim Russell of U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
But market watchers were divided over what the Dow milestone – or even what a potential new all-time high – really means. To some, it’s an important booster to hearts and minds, making investors feel optimistic and thus more willing to bet on the market.
The Dow touching 14,000, it matters psychologically, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. It attracts smaller investors.