1995: The year the future began
The Dow Jones Industrial Average opens this morning at an all-time record high, having topped 18,140 points in trading Friday.
It’s faintly reminiscent of the Dow’s cracking another barrier, that of 4,000 points, which it did 20 years ago today.
That milestone, the Associated Press reported then, was “achieved amid optimism in the nation’s financial markets generated by indications … from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan that the central bank may be finished raising interest rates.”
Topping 4,000 points on February 23 was one of an astonishing 69 record highs the Dow reached in 1995.
The Dow cleared 5,000 points in November, as interest rates tumbled; it was up by more than 33 percent for the year — and no year since has come close to that kind of showing.
(Before the 1990s closed, the Dow topped 10,000 points, a threshold crossed on March 29, 1999, amid what the Wall Street Journal later called “the euphoric atmosphere that pervaded the tech-driven stock market rally.”)
In all, 1995 represented the Dow’s best performance in 20 years, as I point out in my latest book, 1995: The Year the Future Began.
The year’s remarkable run “had been quite unforeseen by columnists and analysts at the outset of the year,” I write in 1995, noting, for example, that columnist John Crudele wrote that 1995 risked being “the worst year for the stock market in a long time.” He further wrote that “market gurus see a strong case for the market to go down.”
One analyst quoted by Crudele said the Dow in 1995 could ebb to 3,000 or 3,200 points.
At year’s end 1995, the Dow stood at 5,117.12.
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