Money: The Uncertain Bull

After nearly seven fitful years, the Dow Jones industrial average hit a new high last week. Long-term blue-chip-stock investors who bought in January 2000, when the Dow peaked at 11,723, were even at last. Time to break out the bubbly? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

The funny thing about bull markets is that by the time you're seeing new highs, often the ride is all but over. Last spring the Dow flirted with a record but collapsed into a dismaying summer swoon. Will the autumn surge be another false positive? Consider the odds: over the past 100 years, half of all sustained...

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