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CNBC's Schacknow: Alcoa, Amazon ESP

Crystal Ball
Not only did the Dow finally crack the 13,000 mark today, we KNEW it was going to happen. Are we geniuses? Well, not quite. But we did have a few little hints -- and one big hint -- ahead of the opening bell.

Futures had already moved higher following various positive earnings reports like the one from Amazon.com, and economic numbers like this morning’s durable-goods orders report. That told us the market would likely move higher at the open, but perhaps not quite enough to push the Dow over the magic number.

Then, a few minutes before the open, we got news that Alcoa was considering selling several of its businesses. Alcoa got an immediate pop in pre-market trading, and, since it’s a Dow component, we were confident that this would put the Dow over the top.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
VANG SC VAL
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VOW3
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GM
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VZ
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It did, indeed. It took about two minutes into the trading day for the Dow to exceed 13,000.

Aside from its predictive value, Alcoa’s surge also gave it the distinction of being the best performing Dow stock during the time it took the index to go from 12,000 to 13,000, allowing it to move past No. 2, Honeywell International. General Motors had the dubious honor of being the worst performing Dow stock during that period, one of only five Dow stocks to fall over that six-month stretch.

Goldman’s Hot Hand
Reporters are often asked to turn stories around quickly, but our Silicon Valley bureau chief Jim Goldman may have set a record Monday. During the second hour of "Power Lunch," he appeared on air to update the government’s investigation into Apple’s stock options.

Jim had been off the air for 30 seconds, when a headline appeared on the wire that Vonage had won a stay of a lower-court ruling that had prevented it from signing up new customers, while its patent infringement dispute with Verizon was being heard.

Jim was back on the air within a minute or two, with only that one headline in hand, explaining what this meant for Vonage’s still-shaky future. I can tell you from experience that not all reporters would have been willing to do this, but Jim is essentially fearless. Plus he knows his material! A great job by Jim.