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The Dow Peaks of 1937 and 2007.

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher No Comments Comments
    September 4, 2011

    In response to a special request last February, I created an overlay of two major Dow peaks — the 1937 high following the Crash of 1929 and the 2007 all-time high. Now, a little over six months later, here is an update. When we align the two highs, we see a radical parting of ways a little over three years into the future.


    Here is the same overlay, this time adjusted for inflation, which puts our current price level a bit closer to the corresponding level in late 1940.

    We can analyze market data with trendlines, flags, and Fibonacci ratios to our heart’s content. But sometimes market behavior is best understood as a consequence of historical events and policy decisions. The Battle of France in May 1940 was an example of the former. Perhaps the Federal Reserve’s last round quantitative easing is an example of the latter. The results, at least until a few months ago, were dramatically different.

    We can look back on Dow history and see the tumultuous impact of World War II on the market and the dramatic recovery that followed. The question now is whether a decade or two in the future QE will be seen as a masterful stroke of economic management or an inadequate or ill-conceived delaying tactic (“kicking the can down the road”) that ultimately worsened the Fiscal Crisis we still must face. This unconventional policy gamble is a game of high stakes — namely, the economic well-being of the United States and other parts of the world as well.

    From The Dow Peaks of 1937 and 2007.

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author

    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.