Dow Closes Above 12,000; S&P Breaks 1300

Last Updated Feb 1, 2011 5:05 PM EST


Updated February 1, 2011
Dow 12,000: We have crossed this threshold five times, but there's nothing like clawing back after being down so low. The Dow Jones Industrial Average just closed above 12,000 for the first time since June 19, 2008, when both AIG and GM were still members of the index-doesn't that seem like a long time ago?

The first time the Dow closed above 12,000 was on October 19, 2006, when the housing market was peaking, the financial crisis hadn't yet exploded and Goldman Sachs still had a "master of the universe" swagger.

Yet here we are more than four years later and 12,000 is like 10,000 and 11,000 before it - a milestone that represents a long and painful slog from March 2009, when the Dow touched 6547, buy was still a good distance from the all-time high of 14,164, reached October 9, 2007.

Not to be outdone, the S&P 500 also reached a milestone: it closed above 1300 for the first time since August 28, 2008, over nine years after the index first breached that level (March 15, 1999). The Great Recession bottom for the S&P 500 occurred on March 9, 2009, when the index plunged to 676.

Experts will guffaw our obsession with round numbers and say that it's just another example of allowing emotions to guide our investing. I prefer to use the emotional stirring as an excuse to get people to act! After all, if 12,000 or 1300 is the catalyst for action, I'm all for it!

Here's what you should do:
  • Open your statements
  • Review where you stand
  • Take risk assessment
  • Re-balance according to personal goals
  • Beef-up cash for near-term funding
If you work with a broker or an advisor:
  • Schedule appointment to review progress
  • Confirm how much service costs
  • Review and update your plan
  • Consider replacing managed funds with lower cost index or exchange-traded funds
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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch. She covers the economy, markets, investing or anything else with a dollar sign. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch in 2009, Jill was the chief investment officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.

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