A great deal of fuss was made over the dow's passing 4000 points. Now that it has settled in on a plateau above that lofty summit, people are wondering what it will take to push it to 5000. Old-timers in the market can remember the Dow bumping up against 1000 for 11 years, but lately it's made a brisk ascent: 2000 in 1987, 3000 in 1991 and 4000 in 1995, gaining 1,000 points every 1,400 days. At this pace, it will reach 5000 sometime around the turn of the century.

But what are we talking about here, hiking or investing? As...

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