December and January, historically, are the two best months for the stock market. For the first time since May 2002, the Dow Jones
Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 level. And it's the second day this week it has gone above that mark.
"It might be a psychological milestone for some, but it's just another number and the great news is that it is up 20% and that is a healthy recovery from the levels we had seen over the past couple of years," said Bob Coffin of A.G. Edwards Investments.
Officials say the 10,000 comes after better than expected retail sales and federal reserve officials suggest interest rates will stay low.
"Retail sales grew at an all-time rate in November so that shows signs of consumer confidence and optimism that the economy is continuing to improve," said Coffin.
"With the stock market going up, what does it mean to the average person? It means an increase and it shows general optimism," Coffin said.
The Dow is up nearly 20 percent so far in 2003, but it remains below the record high of 11,722.98 on Jan. 14, 2000.
The blue chip index was up more than 86 points, ending the session at 10,008.
Advancers on the New York Stock Exchange led losers 3 to 1, with 1.4 billion shares traded.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up more than 37 points, or nearly two percent, at the1,942 level on volume of 1.6 billion shares, and the
S and P 500 added 12 points, to finish the session at 1,071.
The strong performance following two straight days of losses suggests investors took advantage of the declines to do a little bargain hunting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.