Dow 20,000

Written by Lowell Pratt Jr., CFA on .

Major Asset Class Real ReturnsNow that 2016 is in the rear view mirror and we look ahead to 2017, I want to take a short walk down memory lane.  More than thirty years ago when I first came to Burney, my first boss, Ted Rosenberg, or Mr. Magnificent as he liked to be called, drove a car with the personalized tag “DJ 2000”.  He purchased those tags before the Dow Jones crossed 1,000 (so, pre-1981) and it was still 500 points away from 2,000 in 1986. 

Everyone logically concluded Ted was both nuts and hopelessly optimistic.  However, in a relative blink of the eye - less than two years later - the Dow crossed 2,000 forcing Ted to update his tag to the more lasting “Mr. Mag”.  I share this today with the Dow crossing 20,000.  Given how impossible it was to imagine even a Dow 2,000 back then, who could have conceived of 20,000?  Blink again and we’ll cross 40,000. In another 30 years or so, 200,000 and beyond. 

It is hard to disregard market movements in the moment, but in the end what the Dow did last year or does the year ahead is fairly meaningless, as the big move is over the long haul where the direction of the market is persistently and decidedly up, up and away.