Mark Hulbert: Dow 20,000 watch: There’s some truth to psychological hurdles

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Welcome to day 10 in the Dow’s so-far unsuccessful attempt to eclipse the 20,000 barrier (as judged by when this benchmark first traded within 1% of that level).

Many are wondering why the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.12% decided to pause here, given its extraordinary strength over the prior six weeks—and just as it was on the brink of this long-anticipated accomplishment.

In fact, however, there’s no mystery.

That’s because the market often hesitates as it approaches psychologically important hurdles like eclipsing 20,000. And it’s not just an after-the-fact rationalization of recent sluggishness for me to point this out.

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