Err, no, Dow Jones and FTSE are not at records

Stock markets in New York and London climbed to new highs on Tuesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its highest closing level and the London market surpassed a level last reached five years ago.

Better-than-expected news from the service sector on both sides of the Atlantic and a resurgence in retail sales in the eurozone bolstered a rise in share values that dates back to last summer when central banks rallied in the aftermath of the eurozone\’s near break-up.

The Dow closed at 14,254, passing its previous high of 14,164 in October 2007 erasing the index\’s losses during the financial crisis even as Washington\’s fights over its debts and Main Street seem far from mended.

Cheered by a strengthening of housing market values hit by the sub-prime property crisis and higher consumer confidence, the US remains hugely indebted and blighted by political stalemate in the capital.

The FTSE closed at 6,432, its highest level since January 2008, with analysts according much of the rise to the hopes of an upswing in global growth and higher commodity prices. The FTSE 100 index is skewed to companies that benefit from the sale of oil, copper and chemicals.

The two indices are nominal numbers. They are not adjusted for inflation.

It\’s like saying that wheat at £200 a tonne is more expensive than 1840\’s wheat at 2 s. a bushel. In any real or useful sense it\’s nonsense.

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