Someone asked me if I was excited when the Dow once again hit the 10,000-point mark.
It was October 2008 when we last saw that five-digit number. Now, on Oct. 14, the Dow Jones industrial average again closed above 10,000 — 10,015.86 to be exact. Should we be cheering, or remain cautious about this recovery?
First, understand what the Dow is. It is the most widely used indicator of the overall condition of the stock market. It’s also just a snapshot comprising the 30 biggest and most prominent blue-chip stocks.
The first time the Dow hit the 10,000 benchmark was in 1999, and its all-time highest close was 14,164.53 in 2007.
So what should we think of this most recent development? To find out, I interviewed some financial experts about this milestone.
Dallas Salisbury, president and chief executive of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, is not in awe.
“Extraordinary losses or gains should never excite the average individual investor in a positive way, as they underline the irrationality of the markets and the absence of any individual control over the markets,” he said. “Winning or losing, it is more and more like being at a table in Las Vegas.”
Salisbury said that now, more than ever, individual investors should be trying to decide how much they can afford to lose in the stock market and how much of their money needs to be safe and not subject to big swings in value.
It’s good for investors to have some recent and somewhat sustained relief from the wide and volatile swings of the past, said Syrinda Elizabeth Paige, a certified financial planner with the Lighthouse Group at Morgan Stanley. “Most importantly, investors should stay focused on knowing their own numbers,” Paige said. “When I say their own numbers, I mean knowing what rate of return they need to live comfortably based on their own personal goals, their time horizon and expected expenditures.”
Ernest Burley, a certified financial planner with Burley Insurance and Financial Services based in Bowie, Md., is upbeat about the 10,000-point benchmark. “It’s always exciting to see positive returns,” he said.
But Burley urged cautious optimism. “I don’t think there should be blind excitement and thoughts of being out of the woods and we’re back to high returns again,” he warned. “Enjoy it for what it is — a current uptick in the market.”