Dow Jones hits a 4.5 year high of 11,000

Submitted by Share Trading on 10 January, 2006 - 11:09

The Dow Jones industrial average broke above 11,000 for the first time in 4 1/2 years on Monday, with stocks headed for a fifth straight day of gains as shares of General Motors Corp. and financial companies gained after brokerage upgrades. Dow hitting 11,000 is “psychologically key" for the market. GM shares climbed 5.5 percent to $21.94 on the New York Stock Exchange after one broker raised its rating on GM to "in-line" from "underperform."

Helping to limit Dow gains were shares of International Business Machines Corp., which fell 1.7 percent to $83.47, the heaviest drag among blue chips. One broker cut its rating on IBM to "neutral" from "overweight," according to a report by MarketWatch.

The last time the Dow passed 11,000 was June 13, 2001, when stocks were falling. Many strategists say breaching the 11,000 mark does not signal a new trend for stocks. But they noted that 11,000 was a psychological milestone, which could boost sentiment. Stocks were off to a strong start to the new year, ending last week with the best gains in seven months amid optimism that Federal Reserve may be nearing an end to interest-rate increases.

Shares of Wall Street powerhouses JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. rose after a brokerage raised its rating on the stocks. The broker upgraded JPMorgan Chase, saying it expects "capital markets to perform better," while it raised Merrill Lynch to "overweight" from "neutral weight. JPMorgan shares rose 1.3 percent to $40.54 on the NYSE, while shares of Merrill gained 1.3 percent to $69.62 also on the NYSE.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 22.56 points, or 0.21 percent, at 10,981.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.14 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1,287.59. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.19 points, or 0.40 percent, at 2,314.81. Crossing the 11,000 mark puts the Dow about 6 percent below its all-time high of 11,750.28 set on Jan. 14, 2000. The end of the dot-com bull market and, later, a recession, helped drive stocks from their peaks in 2000. In the ensuing bear market, the Dow retreated to a low of 7,197.49 in October 2002 before starting its rebound.
The other key New York stock indices were also up Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing 0.56 per cent to 2,318.57, and the broader Standard & Poor's 500 pushing ahead 0.35 per cent to 1,290.01, based on preliminary closing data.