NEW YORK – What record?
There were no signs of a celebration on Wall Street after the Dow Jones industrial average closed at an all-time high Tuesday. Like on any other day, traders rushed out the doors of the New York Stock Exchange after the closing bell and down the stairs of subway stations. Nearby office workers did the same.
Maybe the memories of the financial meltdown are too fresh, or outlook for the economy is too uncertain. But the only indication that something historic had transpired was the six television news cameras that faced the stock exchange. Even that perplexed some Wall Street denizens.
"Is that what this is about?" said one trader, referring to the cameras and reporters as he darted across Wall Street. He said he didn't have time to give his name because he was rushing to get home.
The Dow rose 125.95 points Tuesday and closed at 14,253.77, topping the previous record set on Oct. 9, 2007 by almost 90 points. The blue-chip index has more than doubled since falling to a low of 6,547 in March 2009 during the financial crisis. It's another sign that the country is slowly healing after the worst recession since the 1930s.
Stocks have been rising thanks to stimulus from the Federal Reserve and record corporate profits. But the economic recovery has been slow and unemployment has remained high. And there's no telling where the stock market will go next.
It's no wonder that the reaction on Wall Street has been less than enthusiastic.
"It was relatively subdued," said Ted Weisberg, a trader who was on the stock exchange floor when the final bell rang Tuesday.
"When you experience a meltdown like we did, it leaves deep financial scars," said Weisberg, who has worked at the New York Stock Exchange for 44 years. "If you've been burned, you're not going to embrace the enthusiasm."
"There's also less people to get excited," he added. The rise of electronic trading means that fewer people are needed on the trading floor.
Markets in Asia did celebrate on Wall Street's coattails Wednesday, led by a jump in Japan's Nikkei 225 index of over 1 percent.
Popular after-work hangouts were half empty Tuesday night. Stone Street, a cobble stone road that's a five minute walk from Wall Street and home to several bars and restaurants, was quiet.
"It's a little busy, but mostly the same as usual," said Gina Parascandola, an event planner at Ulysses Folk House, a Stone Street pub where workers come in to grab a drink and a bite to eat.
Weisberg had no plans to celebrate the Dow's record either.
"I'm doing what I always do; go back to work," Weisberg said outside the stock exchange after the market closed. "It's just another day."