The stock market took a small step today, but it was an important one. For the first time since June, 2001, the Dow Jones average crossed the 11,000 market, ending the day at 11,011, up about 52 points.

I watched the market cross the threshold several times today, flirting with 11,000 for so long before finally crossing over for good. I wondered how many people at the New York Stock Exchange threw their papers in the air in excitement. Maybe none. I get the feeling that traders feel this is long overdue.

I remember when the Dow crossed the 10,000 mark, after flirting with it for weeks. I was sitting in the offices of Bloomberg, in New York, waiting to do an interview. The Dow came right up to 9,991 — or something like that — and no one could take their eyes off the monitors. No one was speaking, everyone was just watching.

And then it crossed into 10,000 territory. Everyone breathed a sign, perhaps of relief, and moved on.

Before everyone gets really excited, remember that the Dow is still down from its high of 11,700, and the NASDQ is nowhere near it’s high of 5,000+. Still, we’re on a roll. Jim Cramer must be shrieking as I write this.

Will the stock market continue it’s upward trajectory? Is this the December rally that wasn’t (typically the Dow has a rally during the last week of the year) come lately?

Perhaps. But January is already packed, with Iraq, with Alan Greenspan calling it quits, with his successor taking over, with major companies like IBM cutting off their pension plans, with unions foundering, and politics as usual.

I’m hoping to catch up with my longtime friend Bob Pisani, the stock reporter for CNBC, when I’m in New York. If so, I’ll be sure to pass along some of his thoughts. Stay tuned.

Jan. 9, 2006.