Fruition, But Let’s Not Get Too Excited

By now you’ve likely heard the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit new all-time records highs over the past two days. This is an event I had been predicting in this column over the past couple of months. So, my prediction comes to fruition, but why aren’t we getting excited about new record highs by the Dow?

Likely, it’s because the new high by the most widely followed stock index in the world has been too long coming. Today, the Dow Jones sits at about 11,850, up a miniscule one percent since January, 2000. The Dow would have to go to 12,400 for investors to be up one percent per annum since 2000. This is hardly something for investors in big-cap stocks to get excited. As for dividends, the annual dividend the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been paying over the past six years hasn’t even covered inflation.

No, you won’t be hearing your neighbors and friends talking about stocks during the upcoming holiday season parties. (We know they won’t be talking real estate either because that market is passé now too.) The reality is that if investors pull out their mutual fund statements from 1999 and look at those same statements today, they were likely doing a lot better in the stock market back in 1999. The bear market of the past six years, quietly and slowly, has done a great job deteriorating passive investor wealth.

Would I go out and personally buy the Dow Jones stocks now because the index has moved to new highs? No, I would not. While I do expect the Dow to move higher over the next couple of months, moving the index pass the 12,000 level, the risk reward potential just isn’t attractive.

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The energy and commodity stocks have taken quite a correction as of late. That’s where I’d put my money… the old buy low, sell high formula that always seems to work. Hopefully, you heeded my earlier prediction and got into bonds three months ago as the possibility of lower interest rates in the U.S. has literally set the bond market on fire.