While it's true that Dow 14,253.77 is just a number, it represents an amazing comeback from a time not so long ago when the average investor was fleeing Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average's new benchmark high set Tuesday reflects the health of some of the nation's corporate giants, and a growing confidence among investors who are pouring money into mutual funds at the fastest clip in more than a decade.
The economy, generously spurred by federal spending and record-low interest rates, has been slowly healing since the collapse of 2008, although the recovery of some aspects — particularly employment — remain stubbornly sluggish.
The Dow is composed of just 30 companies, including many household names that employ Oklahomans or are regularly patronized by Oklahomans — Walmart, McDonald's, Boeing, Proctor and Gamble, AT&T and Home Depot, among them.
The success of those massive corporations drives the Dow, and they deservedly receive a major share of attention surrounding the stock market.
But none of the Dow members are based in the Sooner state.
There is a little-known index of state-based companies — the Spade Oklahoma Index — that tracks the performance of our largest, publicly traded hometown firms. The Spade Oklahoma Index, like the Dow, has been on the upswing.
But an examination of the firms tracked by that index reveals that energy is what powers Oklahoma's corner of the stock market.
The 10 largest firms in the Oklahoma Index are all in the energy business, although the focus of those firms ranges from drilling to pipelines to utilities to coal mining.
Those state-based companies — Williams, Devon, Continental Resources, Chesapeake, ONEOK and others — have a much more direct impact on our economy through jobs, construction, drilling, philanthropy and all the wider ripples those corporate activities send through the state economy.
While that state index is heading upward, it's not at an all-time high. Energy prices are the trigger that can and have sent it to higher levels.
So when you're checking the Dow to gauge the mood on Wall Street, also check energy prices to get a better sense of conditions along our own Main Street.