BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Traders are trickling back in from the long weekend this morning, coming into the office and onto the trading floor just as the broad market is set to test a key level for stocks. As I write, the Dow sits just shy of 12,950 -- a mere 50 points away from the 13,000 level that's been getting so much attention for the last few days.
While 13,000 is a technical (and psychologically) significant price level, I think that the corresponding 1365 level in the S&P 500 is a more meaningful price to watch out for; in general, the S&P is a much better proxy for the broad market than the more popular Dow is. But whichever index you're watching, the potential for U.S. stocks to move back up to their pre-recession highs is a big deal.
That sort of a move could definitely extend investors' early gains in 2012.
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