The Dow Jones Industrial average passing 20,000 doesn't matter in any essential way, of course. But neither does a ballplayer getting his 3,000 career hit. Yet in both cases, the drama builds, the retrospectives flow and the critical assessments are made.
In the case of the Dow's approach to 20,000, it's happening in a fairly routine sense on one hand: Gentle pre-holiday trading, in the season of upside bias for stocks, with all the major indexes levitating by 0.2-0.4 percent. Market breadth is solidly positive, but not so much that it shows urgent, indiscriminate buying. The S&P happens to be tussling with its former record high as the Dow is teasing 20k. The "risk-on" sectors are getting a lift. Just another "tack-on day," six weeks into a persistent rally.
Here's what I'm watching heading into the closing bell: