Will the Dow Reach 17,000 Soon?

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U.S. stocks rose for a good portion of trading on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but most of those gains were erased during the last half hour of what’s typically a light day of trading. The Dow crept even closer to the 17,000 mark, reaching a high of 16,174.51 before dropping to 16,086.41 to close trading on Black Friday.

According to the Associated Press, this week is the Dow’s eighth straight week of gains despite the lackluster finish. The S&P 500 also posted its eighth week of gains on Friday, which Bloomberg says is the longest winning streak for the index since 2004.

Major U.S. indexes have rallied on stimulus efforts from the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 has increased 167 percent since its lowest point in 2009, during the financial crisis. The Dow has gone up more than 86 percent since January 2008 and has been pushing records recently.

The majority of investors surveyed by Bloomberg still believe the Fed won’t start tapering its bond purchases until March or later, despite comments from the Fed that tapering could come sooner if data continue to show that the economy is improving. The belief that the Fed will wait to taper has left some analysts feeling confident about the index as it inches closer to the 17,000 mark.

One Wharton School professor, Jeremy Siegel, has high hopes for the future of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to CNBC. Siegel theorizes that the DJIA might rise as much as 10 percent or more in 2014. However, before the new year even begins, he believes things might substantially improve, quoting a possible 6 percent rise in the Dow by the end of 2013; this added to the 25 percent gain year to date already seen in the blue-chip index.

One thing that could get in the way of the Dow’s rise is a predicted dismal holiday shopping season. A late Thanksgiving shortened the holiday shopping period, which begins with Black Friday, by a week, and consumers have said they plan to spend less on gifts this year than they did in 2012.

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