Dow hits 14,000 for first time since October 2007

2013-02-01 19:45:43 GMT2013-02-02 03:45:43(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NEW YORK, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday hit 14,000 for the first time since October 2007 during intraday trading, but the index soon pulled back from the important psychological level.

The Dow opened sharply higher after Friday's opening bell, surging 85.85, or 0.62 percent, to 13,946.43.

The Dow has been closing in on the 14,000 level during the past week. Most traders were optimistic that it would hit the line.

At around 10:08 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (1508 GMT) the Dow briefly touched 14,000.97 but retreated from the level after reports showed that the U.S. unemployment rate in January rose slightly higher than the previous month.

Seaport Securities trader Jason A. Weisberg on Wednesday told Xinhua that he was "100 percent" sure that the Dow would hit the level and set a new historical high later this year.

"Barring some geopolitical disaster, there's nothing to stop market to continue to go higher," Weisberg said.

However, economic data released Friday painted a downbeat picture of the U.S. labor market.

Unemployment rate in January was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, slightly higher than December's 7.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Labor Department reported Friday. Analysts expected the figure to drop to 7.7 percent.

Meanwhile, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157, 000 in January, mainly boosted by job gains in retail trade, construction and healthcare, after increasing a revised-up number of 196,000 in December, the department said.

In Thursday's trading, Wall Street wrapped up January on a strong note,with the Dow spiking 6 percent, the S&P 500 up 5 percent, marking the best monthly gain since October 2011 and the best January since 1994 and 1997 respectively.

However, most traders also believed that the stock market is a little bit ahead of its self.

"In order for it (the market) to be healthy and move higher, it should be consolidating," Kenneth Polcari, director of New York Stock Exchange Floor Operations at O'Neil Securities, told Xinhua earlier in the week.

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