When the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 4,000 in March of 1995 and then rose to hit 5,000 just eight months later in November, everybody started to speculate about the date when the Dow would hit 10,000.
I have been investing and studying technical analysis since the late 1960s and witnessed the Dow hit 1,000 for the first time in 1966. A bear market followed and brought the Dow 37-per-cent lower to about 630 in 1970. As the market started to rise again toward 1,000, I thought it was a good time to join the “Street” and did so on Jan. 1, 1971.
In those days, I didn’t know that a secular bear market typically had two down-legs, so the next 44-per-cent decline to 564 by the end of 1974 came as a great surprise. However, the market turned quickly from there and in two more years it was back to 1,000 again. Then, after a narrow trading range between 750 and 1,000, it left 1,000 forever in December, 1982. The rise continued, and the Dow passed 3,000 in July, 1991, 4,000 on March 17, 1995, and 5,000 on Nov. 24, 1995. Rising 1,000 points in eight months was unheard of before. Articles appeared debating just how high the Dow could go.
I decided to study the growth of the Dow during the bull market that ended in 1929, and its second rise from 1942 to 1966, and found many similarities in compound growth. Carrying this similarity forward, the calculations suggested that 10,000 could be reached by late 1999.
In January, 1996, I presented this study at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society of Technical Analysts and the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts under the title of “10,000 in 2000.” As we know, the Dow reached 10,000 (exactly 10,174) for the first time on April 9, 1999.
Flash ahead to early November of this year. As the Dow was getting closer to 30,000, I wondered whether it kept pace with the aforementioned rate of growth and would it be “on time” when it got to 30,000?
When Wall Street Journal editor Charles Dow and his associate, statistician Edward Jones, decided to create an index in 1896, they began with 12 stocks. They added the closing prices of these 12 stocks daily, divided the sum by 12 and that became the daily index. They decided to increase the number to 30 in 1928 and changed the divisor to 30. Through the years, this divisor had to be adjusted for dividends, splits and changes in constituents and the number became smaller and smaller, so that today this “divisor” is actually a multiplier. In fact, when last I checked it was 0.15198707565833, according to Barron’s.
I used the compound rate that allowed me to arrive at 10,000, and repeated the calculations using essentially the same compound rate from the end of the bear market in 2009 (6,627). Astonishingly, the calculation projected 30,000 for 2021. Naturally, I continued with the calculation. The results are even more remarkable. They suggest that the Dow could reach 100,000 well before 2030, less than a decade away!
Ron Meisels is president of Phases & Cycles Inc. (phases-cycles.com). He was vice-president and director of technical research of Nesbitt Thomson (now BMO Nesbitt Burns) from 1982 to 1990. He was ranked among the top three technical analysts by Canadian institutions for six consecutive years (Brendan Wood survey).
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