- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2013

U.S. stock markets shrugged off an uptick in the national employment rate, with the Dow Jones Industrial Index crossing the 14,000 mark for the first time since 2007 in early trading Friday. The Dow fell back below that benchmark later in the morning, but was still up more than 100 points, or nearly 1 percent.

The Dow, the broader Standard & Poor’s index of 500 stocks and the NASDAQ market were all up strongly Friday, despite the news from the Labor Department that the nation’s unemployment rate increased from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January. Analysts said traders were more focused on upward revisions in previous months’ job creation numbers than in the modest official rate increase.

Stocks gaining value outnumbered those falling by a 4-to-1 margin in the first hour of trading. Among those setting all-time higher were News Corp. and Discovery Communications.

Despite the jobs number and a report earlier this week showing the U.S. economy actually shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. analysts said the market may be preparing for a run at the Dow’s all-time high closing of 14,164 set on Oct. 9, 2007.