Monday, October 12, 2009

The Stock Market Roller Coaster

Two years ago yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average achieved its all–time record high of 14,198.10 points. It had been less than 10 years since the stock market cracked the previously unthinkable 10,000–point barrier on March 29, 1999.

At that point, only the sky seemed to be the limit, but we all learned there was a plexiglas ceiling that stood in its way.

Less than 18 months later, the stock market dropped to a decade–low level of 6,469 points.

Talk about a free fall.

It took more than 75 years, from the day in 1896 when the DJIA opened, for the stock market to crack 1,000 points. It took almost one–third as long for the stock market volume to reach 10,000. Less than 10 years after that, it reached its all–time high.

Perhaps it was inevitable that it would collapse under all that weight.

Today, stocks climbed to their highest point in nearly a year. They've been flirting with the 10,000 mark on this Columbus Day 2009, but, with about an hour left in today's session, the volume has dropped back to about where it was when the day began.

Even so, with the way things have been going lately, it seems likely that it will crack the 10,000 barrier again, which may or may not be good news.

"The Dow is moving closer to 10,000, a key psychological level that could trigger a more aggressive wave of buying — or a big selloff," writes Alexandra Twin for "The Dow last crossed 10,000 on Oct. 7, 2008, when it briefly touched 10,124.03. The Dow last closed above 10,000 on Oct. 3, 2008, when it ended at 10,325.38."

Let's hope that this time, when it crosses the 10,000–point level, it stays there longer than it did in 2008.

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