Nightly News | February 21, 2012
>>> now to the economy, one of the more substantial issue, the voters will be deciding on this election year. today on wall street for the first time in almost four years, the dow jones industrial average touched that 13,000 mark before backing off a bit by the closing bell . blue chips finished the day up almost 16 points at 12,965 in the end. so what does a sizable rally on wall street mean for the rest of the country? our report from nbc's john yang .
>> the last time the dow hit 13,000, broem proem was a junioe sgloort and facebook had fewer than 1 million users. it's nearly doubled since bottoming out in march 2009 with nearly 165 million american invested in stock, mostly through 401(k) retirement accounts, that's likely to boost consumer confidence .
>> a confident consumer is one more likely to spend and they're willing to look to the future with a bit more optimism.
>> i'm impressed with the stock market if the wall street fat cats get richer, that doesn't affect me or my friends.
>> reporter: rising stock prices may not mean much for consumers. given all the head winds in the economy, rising energy prices , still concerns about europe, you can't say that 13,000 dow is an all-clear signal.
>> reporter: analysts say the biggest hit may be at the pump with forecasters predicting an nationwide average of $3.95 per gallon by memorial day , higher in big cities .
>> it impacts everything. it's just not the car.
>> reporter: there are other troubling signs. 1 in 5 home owners owe more on their houses than they're worth. and more than a quarter of americans owe more on their credit cards than they have in savings.
>> we're growing, but there's not a general sense of prosperity in the country.
>> reporter: as the economic recovery struggles to maintain momentum. you want to know the impact of those rising gas prices , consider this -- analysts say the 18.5 scent increase in the last 30 days has cost american households, $26 billion. brian?