The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 7.3 percent in 2012, the fourth straight year in which the leading index maked gains. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that the index is up an impressive 100.15 percent since its great recession low in March 2009.
After climbing in the first three quarters of this year, the Dow dropped in the fourth quarter for the firt time since 2008. Despite ongoing concerns over the fiscal cliff, the Dow climbed 166 points today, its best ever showing on New Years Eve. The broader S&P 500 index had its best New Year's Eve since 1974.
The S&P 500 and [technology heavy] Nasdaq both rose for the eighth year in the past 10, after slipping last year. The S&P stands 111% above its 2009 low, and the Nasdaq is 138% above its.
These astounding gains show that the great recession was a once in a lifetime buying opportunity for those who still had faith in the markets (or money to invest).