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VIA WASHINGTON POST:

The Dow closed above 10,000 moments ago, pushing above a psychological barrier it has not recorded in more than a year.

The Dow briefly crossed 10,000 at about 1:15 p.m. today, then retreated, then punched above 10,000 after 3 p.m. and held on until closing.

The Dow staged a strong rally today, closing up 144 points, or 1.5 percent, at 10,015.

The last time the Dow closed above 10,000 was Oct. 3, 2008, and that was on the way down from its all-time high of more than 14,000 in October 2007. The first time the Dow hit 10,000 was on March 29, 1999.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange passed out “Dow 10,000 2.0” ballcaps.

The broader S&P 500 closed up 1.8 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 1.5 percent.

The markets were being pushed higher by earnings. Intel’s third-quarter numbers came in this morning with both revenue and earnings gains.

J.P. Morgan Chase also beat estimates in earnings released this morning. Chase is a large retail bank with lots of exposure to consumer debt — and default — and its third-quarter performance was closely watched. Chase said loan losses would continue for the foreseeable future, but the bank’s gains in investment banking trumped that bad news, in traders’ minds.

Also goosing the markets today was oil: It closed above $75 per barrel, a one-year high. It’s still half the price of its all-time high in July 2008, but it had been stagnating in the $50s lately.

Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, passes along some memories of 1999 as a way of illustrating where we were when the Dow last hit 10,000. He notes:

– Gas was $1.20 per gallon. Today, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.48.

– The dollar index (DXY), a comparison of the dollar’s strength against other currencies, was 100.36. Today it’s at 75.60, showing a dollar weaker by 25 percent.

– The other side of the dollar coin, so to speak: In 1999, gold was $280 per ounce. Now, it’s $1,060, showing investor anxiety in the dollar.

– Most frighteningly, the total U.S. debt was $24.6 trillion. Today, it’s $50.8 trillion. And soaring.

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