What Global Crisis?

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NEW YORK: Was the summer bear all just a bad dream? The Dow is back in record territory after a 214-point gain Monday pushed the index to a new all-time high: 9,374.27. FORTUNE writer Nelson Schwartz says that giddiness over high-profile courtships such as AOL and Netscape and Deutsche Bank AG and Bankers Trust Corp. has a way of catching on. "It's another bout of merger mania," he says. "People see a deal coming and they start looking in that sector -- even in other areas -- for stocks they like."

Adding momentum to the recent rallies has been the backdrop of the global economy, which these days has been almost sunny -- relatively speaking. But just because Asia, by some accounts, has bottomed out, that doesn't mean it's going to recover anytime soon. "There's a real sense that the world's economic panic has passed," says Schwartz, "but as strong as the euphoria is, there's still a lot of fear. There's an awareness that if there's some bad news, the bubble could really burst in a big way." See you on the flip side.

AOL's stock price

Netscape's stock price