March 5, 2012
Apparently I did. Last week, while I was going about the business of business - analyzing & advising, mainly - the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed over 13,000 for the first time since before the financial crisis gripped the global economy back in early 2008. I was informed of the Dow crossing this "psychologically important level" by a radio broadcast in the evening. That made me think: I'm up to my neck in the stock markets every day, have been for nearly 30 years, and hadn't even noticed.
Even when I finally did notice, my reaction was simply, "Great." Since starting in the investment business when the Dow was around 1,000 I have seen many milestones reached. In some cases, they've been reached again and again as the Dow would flirt with a level, over and back a few times before breaching it and moving to higher ground, in some cases permanently. But the fact that I didn't know we were at Dow 13,000 isn't the story. The fact is that the market doesn't know what 13,000 means. Neither do individual stocks. It's only a "psychologically important level" for people who consider it so, and those people are in the minority worldwide.
Long-term investors needn't concern themselves with the level of an index like the Dow Jones Industrial or the S&P 500. Of genuine importance are the financial strength of your investments, prospects for growth, and let's not forget: cash flow. Interest and dividends are tangible, meaningful results that come from investing your capital. An index is a good way to gauge the level of the broad market, but it's easy to miss a market move. Cash flow is good way to enjoy life, and it's hard to miss.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).