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With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) getting ever so close to 20,000 after only first crossing 19,000 to the upside 21 days ago, we wanted to provide a look at prior 1,000 point thresholds in the DJIA and how many times the index has crossed above (and below) each one of them. The table below lists each 1,000 point threshold for the DJIA from 1,000 to 20,000. For each level we have included the date the DJIA first crossed each 1,000-point threshold to the upside, the number of days that elapsed between the first cross of that 1,000-point threshold and the prior one, what percentage 1,000 points represents of each threshold, and then finally how many upside, downside, and total crosses each threshold has seen.
Looking at the table, a couple of trends are worth highlighting. The first is that with each 1,000-point threshold the DJIA crosses, the percentage that 1,000 points represents declines. For example, when people were focused on Dow 10,000 in 1999, 1,000 points represented 10% of the index. At 20,000, though, 1,000 points only represents 5%. That’s just basic math but is important to remember. A second notable aspect of the table worth pointing out is that even though equities remain in one of their longest bull markets on record, the road from 18,000 to 19,000 was a relatively long one. Even though it represented a gain of just over 5%, it took the DJIA nearly two years to get to 19,000 after first crossing 18,000. Of the 18 other 1,000 point thresholds shown, the time that elapsed between 18K and 19K was the sixth longest. In other instances, long gaps between thousand point thresholds were due to either a bear market or the fact that 1,000 points represented a large percentage of the index. From 18K to 19K, though, neither of those factors played a role. Instead, the market just did nothing for over a year.
After taking 700 days to get from 18K to 19K, the DJIA is moving a lot quicker in trying to get to 20K, and if it gets to 20K between now and Christmas, it will be the shortest amount of time between 1,000 point thresholds in the index’s history. 19K is also one of only two 1,000-point thresholds the DJIA has never closed below after first crossing it to the upside. Obviously, it has only been three weeks, so that could change, but at this point, 19K and 5K are the only two 1,000-point thresholds that have never experienced a downside cross.