Dow breaks 20,000. Big deal.

Published 9:43 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017

By Stephen Korving

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has reached another milestone — it broke through 20,000 as traders cheered, for the first time in history.

There are a few points to remember, however. There have been long periods when the Dow treated investors like riders on a roller coaster: lots of swoops and slides only to end up where you began.

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During those periods people made money with astute stock selection, not by buying “Mr. Market.” We believe that those times will come again.

It took from 1929 to 1954 for the Dow to regain its previous high of 381.

It took 10 years — from 1972 to 1982 — for the market to break through the 1,000 level.

The 1,000-point move in the Dow at the current level is just a little over 5 percent and is therefore not nearly as meaningful as a move from 1,000 to 2,000, a move of 100 percent. But it’s still an important psychological barrier that had to be broken for the market to move higher.

The move makes sense from both a technical and fundamental standpoint. Both retail and institutional investors are positive, as we have noted in the past.

The Trump administration has moved with amazing speed to demonstrate its desire to increase the level of economic growth as a way of increasing job and wage growth.

It has expressed policy preferences for lower taxes, reducing regulations that stifle business development and encouraging companies to build their businesses in the United States, rather than overseas.

The trend is clear. The only thing that could derail this train is a massive change in consumer sentiment or an external factor such as a war or other calamity.

The latter are known as “Black Swan,” events and we must always keep in mind that they can occur. We manage financial portfolios with those possibilities in mind.

Eventually, valuations will get too high, and the inevitable correction will occur. In the meantime, we enjoy the ride while keeping a close eye on events.

Stephen Korving is a financial advisor and the founding principal of Korving & Co. in Suffolk. For more information, visit