Sunday, March 19, 2006
With the economy tootling along and fear of inflation fading, the stock market reached new highs last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 203 points to 11,279.65. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained 26 points, to 1307.25. The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index climbed 44 points, to 2306.48.
The gains were the biggest since the first week of the year for the Dow and the S&P, which last week cruised past their previous peaks and now are trading at their highest levels since the summer of 2001.
Tech stocks still lag, but the Nasdaq is just 25 points shy of the high it reached earlier this year. If it can return to that level, it too will be trading at a four-year high.
The market benefited this week from a new Wall Street consensus on interest rates. The Federal Reserve will boost rates only another half of a percentage point, most economists now are saying. That light at the end of the tunnel is what traders want to see -- even if it might be a mirage.
-- Jerry Knight