Dow nearly tops 2007 peak before stocks sag

The blue chips come within 16 points of their closing high before profit-taking sets in. The DJIA is up about 116% since its March 2009 bottom. Their recovery has been led by American Express, Caterpillar and Home Depot.

By Charley Blaine Feb 28, 2013 4:11PM
Stock market traders © Photodisc/SuperStockUpdated: 5:05 p.m. ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) came within about 15 points of topping its 2007 closing high Thursday afternoon, but late selling stalled what had looked like a decent rally.

The Dow ended the day down 21 points to 14,055 -- and 110 points below its all-time closing high of 14,164.53, set on Oct. 9, 207. The other major averages suffered small declines as well.

The 95-point downside swing for the blue chips will undoubtedly suggest to some that the stock market has hit a peak. But it will take a few days at least for the picture to clarify itself.

In addition, to the Dow's finish, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) closed down 1 point to 1,515. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) gave up a sizable gain, dropping 2 points to 3,160.

Despite the pullback, the major averages did manage to finish higher in February. The Dow's 1.4% gain was its third monthly gain in a row. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were higher for a fourth straight month.
The Dow was up 1.4% for the month, with the S&P 500 up 1.1% and the Nasdaq up 0.6%.

The Dow reached as high as 14,149.15 just after 2 p.m. ET. That was just below the blue chips' all-time closing high of 14,164.53, reached on Oct. 9, 2007. The index hit its intra-day peak of 14,198.10 two days later -- but ended the day down 64 points.

The S&P 500 finished 51 points below its peak close of 1,565.15, also set on Oct. 9, 2007. The Nasdaq is still 37% below its March 2000 peak of 5,049, reached during the bubble.

The market was higher much of the day, with the Dow up as many as 74 points before the selling began. The gains were prompted in part by a decent jobless claims report and a revision to fourth-quarter gross domestic product figures. The government's latest report shows the economy growing -- barely -- in the last three months of 2012. The original estimate  said the economy was shrinking -- barely.

In addition, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, said he had no plans to raise interest rates any time soon, echoing what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Dow has risen about 116% since its bottom on March 9, 2009. That bottom came after a decline of nearly 54% from the October 2007 peak. At that time, stocks plunged as the U.S. housing bubble burst and the global financial system came under extreme pressure.

The collapse helped produced the worst recession since World War II and saw the near collapse of the U.S. banking system, the housing markets, and the U.S. auto industry.

The Dow's recovery since 2009 has been led by American Express (AXP), up 487%; Caterpillar (CAT), up 287%; and Home Depot (HD), 278%. The laggards have been Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), down 21%, and Exxon Mobil (XOM), up 38.7%.

More on Top Stocks
Feb 28, 2013 4:22PM
Apparently the markets are alright with the sequester, to the point they seem to approve. Perhaps the Republicans were right about the last debt ceiling episode and the markets and bond ratings didn't disaprove of the uncertainty of the situation but the lack of doing anything to reduce government spending.
Feb 28, 2013 5:03PM
I pulled about 80k out of the market today and moved it to fixed income within my 401k...... all the news just seems too positive to be true to me. Guess I'm a crusty old contrarian/maybe a little chicken.

 I've made back what I'd lost from ~ 2008 plus another 10% or so and I don't want to be greedy/start over again if it drops. This makes about 400k total I've pulled out since Obama was elected.  I didn't believe he was good for small business and not seen anything to change my mind.  Actually, he may be worse than I thought.

 Well, perhaps all of the market euphoria is justified,  I just want to protect the principal at this point.  I'm planning to hold tight for several months to see if it is real, or if the wheels come off the bus 3rd or 4th quarter. Then, I'm even more concerned about 2014 when people see how "free" Obamacare really was and have even less money to purchase goods ... seeing what the recent little coupe percent SS holiday expiration did makes me think next year will be even worse. 

I figure I can always buy back in later/lower. I'll let you young folks with guts and glory ride this one higher and I really hope I'm wrong for your sake. I can weather the loss to inflation for a few years, but not several hundred grand so my market exposure is now pretty low. Will always have money in the market, it is now only about 30% ... the least I've had in for 30+ years. Good luck to all of you riders of the storm.
Feb 28, 2013 4:57PM
With interest rates so low, they're practically  forcing money into the stock market.
Feb 28, 2013 6:08PM
Heres the $6 million dollar question

If the Markets doing so well, then why is more than 75% of the US working population hurting so bad?????

Feb 28, 2013 6:00PM
As long as the Fed keeps pumping in the phony money, the market will keep going up.  When they stop or people realize they are pumping it up, just like they are keeping the banks alive, then the bottom will fall out.  Oh, and don't forget, the Fed is projecting that the American public will only lose about $19 Billion when they close out their position in GM.  The issue isn't if the market will sink like a rock, it's when.
Feb 28, 2013 4:18PM
Ever notice that as long Obama does nothing, the stock market goes up?
Feb 28, 2013 5:07PM
Wait a minute...there seems to have been a last minute plunge...everything went red....what happened all of the sudden?
Feb 28, 2013 4:47PM
That will mark the first gain in the markets since 2007 for long term investment.
Feb 28, 2013 5:12PM
Feb 28, 2013 5:08PM

randall grussing.... what constitutes a gain ?   Everything since 2007 has been inflation  A gain of about 6000 points is good ?  Seemingly all is fine?...need no interest rate adjustments with the Fed. involvement ?

The Dow will go all out depression is need to clean up the mess !

Feb 28, 2013 8:42PM

Wow! Things are f*cking great! Lets all throw our money in the stock market!


Oh sh*t!  I forgot! I don't have any money!

Feb 28, 2013 8:52PM
I really think the Markets do not really care about the sequester as it has become so self sufficient that the only thing that makes it go down these days is Europe which lets you know who and what controls if anything what the market does for it's investors. But soon and very soon something must be done about the Oil pricing and the way it is manipulated by speculation and media reporting and false assumptions which if allowed to continue down it's destructive path( except for the wealthy investors who are making out like bandits ) the average consumer on a monthly basis is spending nearly $500.00 a month on gasoline purchases and that equates basically to a car note or two and that my friends is seriously scary.
Feb 28, 2013 7:41PM
Once we reach the high it will be the first gain in the market since 2007. Everything since the was just to recover past losses!!

It's going to bust, and then will everyone say, "I had no idea, I lost so much money." And the big boys will ask the government for more loans, because, "If we go down, we'll have to fire all our employees."

This govenrment will never say no to handing out other people's money. Another TARP will happen when it all goes south. It's like the crackhead daughter of a well to do family. Just keep giving her money, pay no attention to fixing her, then she'll end up dead but not before she pawns everything you own. I love using police metaphors.

Mar 1, 2013 1:37PM
LOL.... Obama's "I am not a dictator"...  Sounded so much like Nixon's "I am not a crook" comment....   Hands in the air just like tricky Dick....

What a lazy, arrogant, corrupt Imbecile...
Mar 1, 2013 10:04AM
It's a market built on lies and manipulation and our gov supports it.  Look at all the negative economic news from around the world and here in the USA so why doesn't the market reflect that?  
Feb 28, 2013 11:45PM
another case of "irrational exuberance" in action.
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