News / USA

Key US Stock Index Tops All-time High

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 5, 2013. The Dow surged to a new record on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 as investors extended 2013's rally.Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 5, 2013. The Dow surged to a new record on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 as investors extended 2013's rally.
x
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 5, 2013. The Dow surged to a new record on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 as investors extended 2013's rally.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 5, 2013. The Dow surged to a new record on Tuesday, breaking through levels last seen in 2007 as investors extended 2013's rally.
VOA News
The most prominent U.S. stock index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, surged to an all-time high on Tuesday.

Within minutes of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow's composite of 30 key stocks jumped to 14,254, surpassing the previous closing high of 14,164 recorded on October 9, 2007. That high-water mark occurred well before the U.S. and world economies plunged into the depths of a recession in 2008 and 2009, and stocks fell in lockstep.

Even now, the surge in the Dow comes as a contradiction to the overall state of the U.S. economy. The country's unemployment rate is still stuck at a historically high figure of 7.9 percent, with more than 12 million workers unemployed. And the country's economic advance has slowed markedly, up just one-tenth of a percentage point in the last three months of 2012.

In addition, U.S. President Barack Obama, the Democrat starting his second term, and his Republican opponents in Congress are locked in a long-running standoff over government spending and tax issues.

Just last Friday, $85 billion in mandated government spending cuts took effect, with  Obama and Republican lawmakers now sparring over the effects of the cuts on the economy and the U.S. labor market.

But James Glassman, the senior economist at the big JPMorgan Chase bank, said investors see favorable trends in the U.S. economy, the world's largest.

“The stock market reflects the value of our companies, and the value of our companies reflects what people think lies ahead. And what the market’s been telling us for a while, and the reason it’s continuing to rise, is that the news on the economy continues to grow better, is that we continue to see an economy that, while there was a lot damage on the recession, it’s recovering, as it usually does, and the news we’re getting is showing you that for all the worry that people had about political uncertainty, and the fiscal cliff and the sequestration, what the market sees in the news is the economy is doing reasonably well, and meanwhile, companies are extraordinarily profitable,” Glassman said.

Patrick Socci, the dean of the Hofstra University business school in New York, told VOA the fact that the U.S. housing market has improved and that the country's central bank, the Federal Reserve, continues to pump $40 billion a month into the economy have helped buoy the stock market.

Socci said investors are overlooking negative aspects of the U.S. economy.

“I think what’s happened is that people have become desensitized or numb to certain realities. For example, up until the last few years any unemployment above 5 percent was considered absolutely unacceptable and now we’re close to 8 percent and it’s been there for quite a while. And I think people just get numb to it,” Socci said.

The Dow index includes some of the best known U.S. companies, with such household names as the world's largest energy company, Exxon Mobil, the huge retailing giant Wal-Mart, and filmmaker Walt Disney. While other broad-based U.S. indexes, such as the Standard & Poor's 500, include the stocks of many more companies, the Dow has over decades come to symbolize the long-term success of American capitalism.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs