Dow logs best January in nearly two decades
BY Wire reports
Friday, February 01, 2013
2/01/13 at 4:48 AM
The Dow Jones industrial average has had its best start to the year in almost two decades.
Stocks rallied in the first week of the year after lawmakers reached a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff," and then pushed toward record levels as optimism about the housing market recovery grew.
Decent company earnings for the fourth quarter and an improving job market also helped lift markets.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the month up 5.8 percent, its strongest January since 1994. The Standard & Poor's 500 finished the month 5 percent higher, its best start to the year since 1997.
"There's not a whole lot of bears left here," said Jeff Hirsch, the editor of the Stock Trader's Almanac.
Stocks have also benefited as investors put more money into equities in January. By one measure, the monthly flow into stock funds was the largest in nine years.
That said, stocks drifted lower Thursday. The Dow fell 49 points to 13,860.58, and the S&P 500 dropped 4 points to 1,498.11.
The Dow is 304 points from its all-time high, which was reached in October 2007.