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Dow Closes Above 12,000

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NEW YORK (CBS4) – For the first time in 2 ½ years, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 12,000 points Tuesday afternoon.

Investors were driven by better than expected earnings from Pfizer, UPS, and Archer Daniels Midland. The earnings and strong manufacturing numbers drove investors into a buying mood.

The Institute of Supply Management said Tuesday that manufacturing activity expanded in January at its fastest pace in nearly seven years. Increased spending by businesses and consumers helped push the index higher, the company said.

The Dow’s rebound has been quite dramatic in just over two years. In March 2009, the Dow bottomed out during the height of the Great Recession. Tuesday’s close of 12,040.16 gave analysts reason to believe the economy has turned the corner towards a recovery.

The auto industry also helped drive the markets on Tuesday, pardon the pun. General Motors, Chrysler and Kia all reported large sales gains in February. GM and Chrysler both reported sales in January jumped 23 percent.

Another big stock market index, the Standard & Poor’s 500, reached a milestone of its own Tuesday. It closed above 1,300. The S&P 500 rose 21, or 1.7 percent, to 1,307.59, its first close above 1,300 since August 2008.

Still, the recovery has been a jobless one up to this point. Unemployment still hovers near 10 percent nationally and in South Florida is as high as 12 percent. And until the jobs come back, the average worker won’t be able to enjoy much of the recovery.

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