The Dow Jones industrial average first closed above 13,000 on April 25, 2007. It had taken the Dow only 129 trading days, since the previous October, to rocket from 12,000. And it took less than three months from there to reach 14,000.
But already in that spring of 2007, there was danger ahead.
The Associated Press took note of the Dow’s milestone but said: “Many of the same worries that weighed on investors earlier in the year remain: rising energy costs, a slumping housing market and a possible credit crunch.”
At the top of the Billboard charts that week: “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne, displacing “Give It to Me” by Timbaland. On TV, 6.7 million people tuned in for “The Sopranos,” the top-rated show on cable.
The unemployment rate was 4.5 percent ? utopian compared with today’s 8.3 percent. The economy was growing at an annual clip of 3.6 percent, but it had only seven more months of growth left before it slid into recession.
That fall, on Oct. 9, the Dow set a record high that still stands, 14,164.53. But swings of 300 points or more jolted the market all year, even before the record. And after the record, it was a bumpy ride down.
Just 10 days later, on Oct. 19, 2007, the Dow fell 367 points because of worries on Wall Street about puny corporate earnings and tighter credit. It was the 20th anniversary of the Black Monday crash of 1987.
And another crash, one from which the markets and the economy have yet to fully recover, lay less than a year ahead.