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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

S&P 500 briefly breaks 1100 before retreating

Last week, Dow 10,000 got all the headlines. But a more important sign post on the way to market recovery was briefly passed moments ago: The Standard & Poor's 500 index briefly broke the 1100 barrier before retreating.

The Dow gets all the love and all the P.R. because it's the most widely known stock index. But the Dow is only 30 blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500, per its name, is 500 of America's most important stocks, and by its sheer size, is a much better gauge of market recovery than is the Dow.

Note I saw "market recovery," not "economic recovery." Out here in the economy, the official unemployment rate is 9.8 percent and rising and likely will crest above 10 percent and hang there for months. Unemployment has remained elevated after each past recession has ended.

Of course, the truer unemployment rate is a staggering 17 percent. That includes the officially unemployed, those who want to be working full-time but can only get part-time work and those who are so discouraged by their prospects, they've given up looking for work.

All the problems with the real economy that existed last week, when I wrote this story about Dow 10K, still exist with the S&P 500 cracking 1100.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  October 19, 2009; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, s&p 500, unemployment  
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