Markets & Stocks
Dow: leaps tall buildings
May 3, 1999: 4:48 p.m. ET

Dow's eclipse of 11,000 in a month is fastest move past 1,000-point marker
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - It took just five weeks for the Dow Jones industrial average to get from 10,000 to 11,000 -- the fastest assault on a 1,000-point milestone so far by the world's most widely watched stock index.
     The 115-year-old index, with a history that spans 20 U.S. presidents, six wars and 21 recessions, has now crossed nine 1,000-point milestones during this decade's bull market stampede and shows few signs of slowing down.
     After making history by closing above 10,000 on March 29, the Dow raced past 11,000 on Monday. By contrast, it took the Dow a year to climb past the 10,000 mark after it first closed above 9,000 on April 6, 1998.
     The fastest eclipse of a 1,000-point milestone before 11,000 was when the 30-share index topped 7,000 on Feb. 13, 1997, just four months after blowing past 6,000 on Oct. 14, 1996.
     With the Dow's swift ascent, strategists and historians are debating whether the market has gone too far, too fast as they glance back at the ups and downs of the widely watched average.
     First published in 1884 by Charles H. Dow in a newsletter that was a predecessor to the Wall Street Journal, the index initially had 11 companies and by 1896 was fine-tuned to 12.
     The Dow, which initially held companies reflecting the Industrial Revolution such as Tennessee Coal & Iron and U.S. Rubber, spent the first 72 years of this century well below 1,000.
     It bounced around in the 200- to 300-point range during and after the Great Depression and didn't close above 500 until 1956. It finally managed to end above l,000 some 16 years later on Nov. 14, 1972, when Richard Nixon was president, an event that some observers called Wall Street's equivalent of breaking the sound barrier.
     The next milestone, Dow 2,000, took more than 14 years, but of course, each 1,000-point rise represented a much bigger move in percentage terms back then. Going from 1,000 to 2,000 was a 100 percent increase while going from 10,000 to 11,000 required a gain of just 10 percent.
     The Dow crashed on the road to 3,000, tumbling 508 points to 1,738 on Oct. 19, 1987, a 22.6 percent drop that is the market's biggest one-day decline. (The crash of 1929, which helped usher in the Depression, took two days, Oct. 28 and 29, when the Dow fell 68.9 points, or 23 percent; trading was slower and the markets less efficient back then.)
     It was after the 1990-91 recession that the Dow finally managed 3,000 -- on April 17, 1991 -- and almost four years later before the index closed above 4,000 on Feb. 23, 1995.
     Then the race past the milestones started, with the Dow eclipsing 5,000, 6,000 and 7,000 within two years. The march past 8,000 took just five months, and it took investors nine months to push the blue-chip index above 9,000, the next 1,000-point barrier.
     The meteoric rise, which has helped pull millions of average Americans into the market, has coincided with the second-longest economic expansion in the history of the United States.Back to top


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