It wasn't quite the proverbial unheard tree falling in the forest, but another closely watched technical level tumbled Wednesday even as headline writers and TV pundits were focused on the indictment of Martha Stewart. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eclipsed 9000 Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 22, 2002, amid far less excitement among the chattering class than its ultimately failed attempt on Monday. With media outlets focused on Martha, traders kept focusing on stocks, helping the Dow rise 1.3% to 9038.93. In addition to being a nice round number, 9000 is significant because rallies in the Dow failed around that level both last August and again in December, when the index traded above 9000 only on an intraday basis. The Dow may have made a "triple top" Wednesday, but recent proclamations of the rally's demise have all proven premature, so far. Case in point, other major averages -- which had previously eclipsed levels comparable to Dow 9000 -- continued their ascent Wednesday. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% to 986.24, its best close since July 5, 2002, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.9% to 1634.70, its highest since May 28, 2002. "I think it was inevitable we'd pass through 9000," said Matt Ruane, head of U.S. equities at Credit Lyonnais. "Leadership is coming from the Nasdaq and the broader market -- smaller stocks act tremendous." Advancing stocks bested declining issues by 25 to 7 in Big Board trading, where 1.6 billion shares traded, and by 11 to 5 in over-the-counter activity, where a hefty 2.5 billion shares were exchanged. "People are discounting bad news and looking ahead," Ruane continued. "I hope not too far without a pullback or this might get out of hand. That's how we're starting to feel." Although Chartcraft.com's Investors Intelligence survey showed bullish sentiment rising to 56.5% from 53.8% and bearish sentiment falling to 20.7%, the lowest level in 12 years, few traders are wildly euphoric. Ruane talked about 1000 being a potential resistance point for the S&P 500, which is more closely watched by market participants than the Dow.