COMMENTS: Bullish

The political dispute inside-the-Beltway over the war in Iraq was the Story of the Day--even though none of the networks led it. The House of Representatives prepared to vote to continue funding for the war in Iraq. The bill includes a plan to end United States involvement in the fighting by April 2008. President George Bush has guaranteed he will veto the funds with those strings attached. So the day's developments represent merely an incremental step in a drawn-out power struggle. NBC led with a related story--its own opinion poll on Iraq and other matters. CBS led with a crime story: an arrest in an extortion plot against brokerage houses. ABC led with the stock market itself.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through another round number. The index surpassed 13,000 less than seven months after crossing 12,000, as major corporations made ever greater profits. The previous 1,000 points had taken seven years, CBS' Anthony Mason pointed out. ABC's Betsy Stark (subscription required) speculated that "investors seemed willing to look past some not-so-good news" about real estate foreclosures and rising gasoline prices. After four years of rising stock prices "this bull is long of tooth," she warned and "overdue" for a correction with a 10% loss in value.

CNBC's Erin Burnett argued that the bull market represents encouraging news for the economy at large: it means that foreign capital is eager to invest in domestic corporations; it shows that the financial markets are not worried about a spreading real estate slump; and it reveals optimism that consumer spending will not sag. "We could have more records in store."


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