Nightly News   |  March 05, 2013

Economy struggling despite Dow’s all-time high

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has surpassed its high from 2007, reaching 14,253.77 – a new record. Part of the big boost came from positive economic data out of Europe and China in addition to the low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve.  NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> and now to the news in this country today, starting with wall street , which today set a new all-time record. the dow jones industrial average rallied 125 points today to finish up at 14,253. that shatters the old record from '07. the blue chip stocks have now made back, in effect, all the losses from that scary plunge from the '08 financial meltdown. but this is happening, remember, with a nation struggling in the meantime, with massive debt, with 15 million of our federal citizens on food stamps . our report tonight from nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: if, like many americans, you swore off the stock market a few years back and haven't returned, you have missed a record-breaking run r.

>> good morning, history in the making here on wall street . we have the dow at a record high. all the losses of the financial crisis erased.

>> reporter: but as wall street totally disconnected from main street and still struggling economy? in sacramento, floyd rothenburger is closing two of his three barbecue restaurants. with five major area employers shutting down, his business is drying up.

>> talking, like, 3, 4,000 people out of business in the last three or four months. you know, when the sales are down and the people are not coming, nobody got any money right now and everybody is just kind of scared of everything.

>> reporter: it's a similar story across much of the country. unemployment remains stuck at 7.9%. gas prices are averaging $3.73 a gallon. washington remains in gridlock and the sequester has now kicked in. yet, following many rounds of layoffs, corporate profits have never been higher. the fed is keeping interest rates at record lows and by comparison, the rest of the world looks a lotteriesingier.

>> and as a result, our stock market is probably the best in the world right now. and that's why people are putting their money on wall street and sending us to new all-time highs.

>> reporter: when you look at the dow jones industrial average , remember, that's lot of retirement money at work. after bottoming out in march 2009 , amid the economic crisis , the market has risen 117%. if you had $10,000 invested in a basket of dow stocks, it would be worth roughly $21,700 today. but many money pros say it might be risky for mom and pop investors to jump back in all at once.

>> you want to avoid buying emotionally, which means buying high and selling low. and the best way to do that is to dollar cost average your money into the market every single month.

>> reporter: of course that is very challenging for people who are close to retirement who don't want to take big investment gambles right now and make a big mistake . brian?

>> tom costello on this big day for the markets. tom,