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Dow tops 12,000

January 26, 2011 |  7:10 am

The Dow Jones industrial average on Wednesday climbed above the 12,000 mark for the first time since June 2008.

The blue-chip index crossed the line at midmorning after ending the day on Tuesday at 11,977.19. It has surged 24% in less than seven months as investors have gained confidence in the staying power of the economic recovery.

Stock markets have risen slowly but steadily in recent weeks, buoyed by promising economic data and a series of good earnings reports from American companies.

Since hitting bottom in March 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis and the deepest recession in decades, the Dow has gained more than 5,400 points, a stunning 83%. The world-famous stock average still has about 2,000 more points to recover before it matches its all-time peak of 14,164.53 set in October 2007.

-- Nathaniel Popper in New York

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