OMG - the Dow Jones Industrial Average just hit its highest level ever

More proof that equities are The Thing: the Dow topped 17,000 for the first time ever yesterday.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 14 Jul 2014

So yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of New York's many stock market indexes (or indices if you're a pedant), hit its highest-ever level. Check it out:

Source: Yahoo Finance

Yep: it hit 17,000 for the first time ever. A nice start to the Fourth of July holiday for Wall Street traders (which, incidentally, is why the market closed earlier than usual)...

Here's the science bit:

  • Since the beginning of the year, the Dow has risen more than 3%
  • In the last 12 months, it's gone up 14%
  • It first closed at 16,000 on November 21 last year
  • Since then, there have been 153 trading sessions, making this the seventh-fastest 1,000-point gain in the Dow's history

Why all the enthusiasm? The rise was mainly down to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, published yesterday, which showed the number of jobs rose 288,000 in June, way above the 215,000 economists had expected, while unemployment fell from 6.3% in May to 6.1% in June.

The only fly on the US' Independence Day hotdog is that improved labour market conditions raised worries about the Federal Reserve (the US' version of the Bank of England) taking the opportunity to raise short-term interest rates sooner than expected, which in turn pushed up yields on US government bonds (lenders tend to get nervous if there's too much change too soon). Most analysts, though, suspect the Fed will stick to its plan of keeping interest rates low until mid-2015. So investors should be able to enjoy their Fourth of July celebrations in relative calm...

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