Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow logged its best start to the year in almost two decades.
Stocks rallied in the first week of the year after U.S. lawmakers reached a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” and then pushed higher toward record levels as optimism about the housing market recovery grew. Decent company earnings for the fourth quarter and an improving job market also helped lift markets.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the month up 5.8 percent, its strongest January since 1994, according to S&P Capital IQ data. The Standard & Poor’s 500 finished the month 5 percent higher, its best start to the year since 1997.
“There’s not a whole lot of bears left here,” said Jeff Hirsch, the editor of the Stock Trader’s Almanac, adding that the market may struggle to gain further in February.
Stocks have also benefited as investors have put money into equities in January. By one measure, the monthly flow into stock funds was the Login to read more