February 18, 2012
It was a week of notable heights for the stock's three major indices.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) ended the week up 1.2%, closing at 12,950.10 -- the highest close since May 2008.
- The broader S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) was up 1.4% to 1,361.23 -- the highest close since May 2011.
- The more tech-heavy Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC ) hit its highest close since December 2000 on Thursday, but it fell slightly on Friday, closing at 2,951.78. However, it was still up the most for the week -- 1.6%.
Favorable U.S. economic news on Thursday helped boost the Dow. Chief among the reports was news of the lowest initial weekly jobless claims in four years. This added to the generally rosier economic numbers we've been seeing as a whole lately. In addition, European finance ministers are expected to approve the 130 billion-euro Greek bailout, which is needed to avert a Greek default.
Looking to the individual Dow stocks, 27 of the 30 components gained ground on the week. The two biggest movers were Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) (up 3.1%) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) (up 3%). Both will report earnings next week -- Home Depot before the market opens on Tuesday, and HP on Wednesday. Analysts expect earnings per share of $0.87 for HP and $0.42 for Home Depot.
Those were the recent events that helped fuel the market heights, but remember to keep a longer-term view. Now that the Dow is within 50 points of 13,000, it's natural to get swept up in the euphoria. Remember that rallies last until they don't. We may hit 13,000 soon after the market opens on Tuesday (the market's closed on President's Day), or we may start a long and painful drop. No one knows.
It's fun to talk about the daily movements of the stock market, but remember to invest for the long term. Keep your goals in mind and make sure your asset allocation is sound and will let you sleep at night.
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