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The Down Jones Industrial Average broke a major milestone today, passing the 14,000 mark for the first time the Great Recession began in 2007. As of midday, the index was still hovering around that big round number, and as we finish off a fifth straight week of positive growth for the market, hell, that's not a bad start to 2013.

The Dow first broke 14,000 in July 2007 before peaking at its record high of 14,164.53 on October 9. After that... things didn't go so well for a couple years. But after bottoming out at less than half its peak value in early 2009, the market has clawed its way back and is now within striking distance of an all-time high. Combined with all the other positive economic news of the day, America is starting to look like it has a real economy again.

Some might argue that the Dow is a highly-flawed price survey of just 30 not-that-relevant companies that doesn't really tell you anything about the true fundamental strength of the economy, but ... no one really wants to hear that. As with all stock picking, companies are worth what people think they're worth, and when the Dow is doing well, then people think the country is doing well. And when they think country is doing well, then they start spending and investing, and then lo and behold ... everything starts doing well!

It's all about confidence, and if a Dow above 14,000 makes the right people happy then who are we to complain about some silly arbitrary number? Bring on 15,000!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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