Investors are watching Wall Street today to see if the Dow Jones will reach the 10,000 mark.
Analysts believe the Dow could hit 10,000 this week if companies report better than expected 3rd quarter earnings. The 10,000 level, these analysts say, could send a much-needed boost to Main Street.
On Tuesday U.S. stock futures are little changed, after a Columbus Day holiday rally at which the Dow peaked at 9931, a new high for 2009. It is just 69 points away from the psychologically important 10,000 mark, a level the Dow hasn't seen in a year.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index, which has risen over the past six sessions, also finished Moday at its highest level in a year.
"It's like ringing a bell for the folks that don't watch this market everyday to let them know things are getting better both in the market and the economy, and maybe it's time to start looking at stocks again," Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies and Company, told CBS News Correspondent Kelly Wallace.
On CBS' "The Early Show" Jill Schlesinger, editor-at-large for CBS MoneyWatch.com, said a number of factors contributed to Wall Street lurching back to the 10,000 mark. "Companies cut costs, they fired people, stopped spending money and the government pumped trillions of dollars into the economy. That is really the source of the move back up from those March lows," she told anchor Maggie Rodriguez.
Overseas, European stocks slid on weak economic data this morning, while Asian stocks rose moderately.
Investors around the globe had sent stocks higher on Monday on hopes that third-quarter earnings reports, which begin in earnest this week, will exceed expectations and validate the market's growing belief that the economy is on the mend.
On Tuesday, investors will get reports from consumer products maker Johnson & Johnson, tech giant Intel Corp. and railroad operator CSX Corp.
What's next for the Dow - and the economy - could be determined by some of the biggest banks who report earnings later this week - including JPMorgan Chase & Co., which reports on Wednesday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. on Thursday, and Bank of America Corp. on Friday.
Investors want to see signs that businesses and consumers are picking up their spending and that companies have been able to drive higher profits through revenue growth, not just through deep cost cuts, which helped boost income in the second quarter.
And what should consumers do?
Schlesinger suggests, "This is a great opportunity to really stop, think and reassess. So we'll start with that reassessment thing. Every single retirement plan has an online questionnaire: It's called a risk tolerance or risk assessment questionnaire. Figure out where you stand. You've lived through some really bad lows. It may be time to move it along and try to diversify your portfolio and put your money back to work. Now is a great time to do it."
Schlesinger: Dow 10,000: What Should Investors Do Now?