Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Thirty years ago, the 1,000 mark on the Dow Jones Industrial Average seemed as impassable a barrier as the Berlin Wall. In 1966 the Dow briefly climbed over 1,000 for part of a day on several occasions. But it was not until Nov. 14, 1972, that the Dow closed above 1,000. Shortly after that, the index sank, and did not pass the 1,000 mark for good until 1982. But that was in the clubby, confined investment world of the era, before global markets, billion-share trading days and Internet investors -- the ingredients of a 10,000-point Dow. An excerpt from The Post of Nov. 15, 1972:
By Philip Greer
Washington Post Staff Writer
NEW YORK, Nov. 14 --
The millennium (Wall Street version) arrived today.For the first time in history, the Dow Jones Industrial Average -- the most closely watched and, some say, the most irrelevant of all stock market indicators -- finished the day above the 1,000 mark.
For the record books, today's final reading was 1,003.16, a gain of 6.09 points for the day and, of course, the highest the Dow has ever closed a trading session. On an intra-day basis -- a theoretical figure based on the highest levels reached by the average's 30 component stocks -- the high-water mark was 1,006.92.
The move above the 1,000 level came at about 1:25 p.m. and touched off increased buying interest that pushed the average further ahead. Near the close, when it became apparent that the Dow would close about 1,000 -- it reached that level last week, but fell back -- the trading pace became so hectic that the New York Stock Exchange ticker ran two minutes late. ...
The day opened with the market indecisive and trading activity tailing Friday's comparable period. The Dow wandered from fractional gains to small losses and back. Shortly after noon, the upward movement began and, with it, volume began to pick up. At the close, 30.2 million shares had changed hands, up from 27.21 million on Friday. The 30 Dow stocks accounted for 1.73 million shares. ...
Most Wall Street analysts agree that the Dow's climb above the 1,000 level has little significance in terms of the technical indicators frequently used to forecast market movement. Over the past several years, there has been increasing criticism of the average, based on the charge that its components, mostly conservative companies in manufacturing industries, do not reflect the overall list of more than 1,800 issues traded on the NYSE.
However, analysts agree that the Dow does reflect the market to many individual investors, and its break through 1,000 could give the list a psychological boost.
This series is now in a book that can be purchased online at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/2000/collectors.htm