Feb. 21 - Summary of business headlines: Blue chips touch 13,000 for first time since Lehman crisis; Retailers posting profit gains but Wal-Mart disappoints; Barnes and Noble intros Nook tablet; Oil nears $106. Conway Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The Dow Jones Industrials crossed above 13,000 for the first time since the middle of 2008, months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Wall Street has been on a slow, steady, volume-less climb since the start of the year, as investors grow comfortable with the idea of a slow, steady, economic recovery; and as Europe tries to get its act together. On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Dow 13,000 has more meaning that just a round number, says Doreen Mogavero, president of Mogavero and Lee. SOUNDBITE: DOREEN MOGAVERO, PRESIDENT, MOGAVERO & LEE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What 13,000 signals to a lot of people is that we are not too far off the highs that we were at pre-economic crisis. So I think that this signals that we may be back where we were previous to all of the troubles we had three years ago and possibly on the road to a recovery." That road to recovery includes a path through the shops. High-end retailer Saks enjoyed a strong fourth-quarter, with its customers willing to pay full price. Macy's also saw higher sales but discounting and exclusive promotions helped there. Home Depot topped forecasts as the warm winter encourages early home improvement projects. But Wal-Mart missed sales and profit targets. The road to recovery could turn slick as energy costs continue to rise. Crude oil settled near $106 a barrel, at the highest close in nine months. Barnes and Noble is turning a new page in the competition between its Nook e-reader and the Amazon Kindle. It lowered the price on the color Nook and introduced a new Nook tablet, which is comparable to the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet in price and memory. Going back to the markets: the Dow tried but failed to close above 13,000, and did not stray far from opening levels. Greece finally got its debt deal, but investors still weren't in a buying mood, resulting in a drop across European stock markets. Conway Gittens, Reuters