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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Dow Breaks 13,000 for First Time in Four Years

Slips slightly to end day just below milestone mark.

The Dow Jones industrial average broke 13,000 for the first time in nearly four years on Tuesday.

The Dow had not reached that figure since May 2008, signaling a significant economic improvement over the financial woes that have plagued the country over the last several years.

Unfortunately, it could not sustain its rating, and slipped slightly down to 12,965.69 by the end of the day. Although temporary, the symbolic number gave hope to many across the country, as the Dow continues to steadily rise.

The rating has almost doubled since March 9, 2009 when the Dow sat at just 6,547. However, the Dow can be a bit erratic as it fell as low as 10,655 in the fall.

Currently, the Dow is within just 1,200 points of its all-time closing high of 14,164, which was set on Oct. 9, 2007. At one point in the summer of 2011, the Dow lost 2,000 points in three weeks, and a second recession seemed like a real possibility. Luckily, the market has strengthened every quarter and almost 250,000 jobs were created last month alone, greatly bolstering the economy.

When asked what the number meant to Wall Street, John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo's funds group said, "You need notches along the way to measure things, and that's as good as any."

Dan McMahon, director of equity trading at Raymond James, called the 13,000 milestone a “positive catalyst," adding that the mark is "what we need to get us through the next range."

Analysts hope that the Dow's progress will prompt investors to be less cautious and begin investing more money into the stock market.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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