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The Significance of DJIA 1,000-Point Milestones

The Significance of DJIA 1,000-Point Milestones

February 29, 2024

These “big-round-numbers” are psychological but also can serve as guides


The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock
market index used to assess movements in the US market and its overall strength or weakness. It was created in 1896 by Wall Street Journal editor and co-founder of Dow Jones & Company, Charles Dow.

The Dow tracks the market performance of 30 American large-cap companies. Initially, the Dow had only 12 stocks and these included such golden oldies as American Cotton Oil Company, U.S. Leather Company, and Distilling & Cattle Feeding Company. In 1920, the Dow expanded to 20 stocks and then to 30 stocks in 1929. And since 1929, the composition of the Dow’s 30 stocks has changed over 50 times.

Due to its age, the Dow Jones Industrial Average represents a continuous chart of our nation’s economic growth, along with its ups and downs. And every time the Dow crosses one of those “big-round number” milestones – whether 5,000 or 10,000 or 38,000 – it is met with great enthusiasm.

But the reality is that those “big-round numbers” have little significance, other than maybe a psychological impact on investors. Let’s look at some of the Dow’s milestones.

DJIA Milestones Through the Years

Source: FactSet, S&P Dow Jones Indices

All-time Market Highs Not a Sell Signal

Most importantly, just because the markets have reached new heights, it does not mean you should automatically sell out of equities. If you adopted that strategy over the last year, you would have missed a lot of gains.

In addition, while US stocks are getting all the news coverage, there are other core asset classes that are not trading at all-time highs. Of course, you should not invest in an asset class just because it is trading less than its high-water mark either.

This is why we look at your asset allocation every year (or when you have had a significant life change).

With advances in certain asset classes and declines in others, there is a good chance that your asset allocation is out of alignment with your goals and
risk tolerance.

A Reflection of Wall Street History

All that being said, the Dow’s recent achievement of crossing the 38,000-point mark on January 22, 2024, a mere 40 calendar days after its previous milestone, prompts an exploration of why each 1,000 point milestone can be crucial for long-term investors.

The DJIA's journey through thousand-point milestones serves as a concise history of Wall Street. Notably, the frequency of reaching these milestones has increased over time, reflecting the evolving dynamics of the market. The decreasing average number of days between each milestone signifies the diminishing percentage gain required to attain new levels. This phenomenon becomes particularly pronounced during robust market rallies when the Dow swiftly surges through multiple milestones.

Example from the Pandemic-Era Rally

Illustrating this point is the pandemic-era market rally that gained momentum in the latter half of 2020. During this period, the Dow effortlessly crossed seven thousand-point barriers within a span of just 12 months.

Level

Date

Days Between  1K Levels

30,000

11/24/2020

314

31,000

1/7/2021

44

32,000

3/10/2021

62

33,000

3/17/2021

7

34,000

4/15/2021

29

35,000

7/23/2021

99

36,000

11/2/2021

102

37,000

12/13/2023

771

38,000

1/22/2024

40

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices; Bespoke Investment Group

This rapid succession of milestones highlighted the index's responsiveness to significant market shifts and the accelerated pace of gains during periods of heightened optimism.

Deciphering the Dow's Recent Ascent

The Dow's recent climb beyond 38,000, a milestone achieved in a remarkably short time frame, merits scrutiny. Analyzing the data reveals that the Dow reached the 37,000-point mark on December 13, marking the first thousand-point milestone in 771 days. This event underscores the infrequency of such milestones during certain market conditions and emphasizes the significance of each new level.

Implications for Long-Term Investors

For long-term investors, these thousand-point milestones serve as crucial indicators. Historically, crossing such significant thresholds has often been associated with the robust markets. Investors keen on identifying potential turning points in the market closely watch these milestones, recognizing them as signals of underlying economic strength and sustained positive sentiment.

Planning Matters

The DJIA's thousand-point milestones not only reflect the historical journey of Wall Street but also offer valuable insights for long-term investors. The accelerated pace of reaching these milestones during market rallies and the recent swift to 38,000 highlight the dynamic nature of the stock market.

Long-term investors can view these milestones as more than numerical achievements – they are potential harbingers of good markets, signaling optimism and growth in the U.S. economy. As the DJIA continues its journey, investors will undoubtedly keep a close eye on these milestones, using them as guideposts in navigating the ever-changing landscape of the stock market.

 

Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments. All indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), or DOW, is the most widely used indicator of the overall condition of the stock market, a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue chip stocks, primarily industrials. The 30 stocks are chosen by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow is computed using a price-weighted indexing system, rather than the more common market cap-weighted indexing system.

This article was prepared by FMeX.

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