The 20 Worst Dow Jones Industrial Average 1st Days (and What Followed)

Yesterday’s 1.58% decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the 6th worst first day of the year in the history of the Dow (going back to 1929).

If history is our guide, we’re in for a ho-hum year. I looked at the 20 worst first trading days for the DJIA and then looked at the return for that year. Please note that I used price returns for the DJIA and also included total returns for the S&P 500 because I don’t have total returns for the DJIA going back that far. Because I used two different indexes you’ll see instances where the total return is less than the price return.

20 Worst DJIA Starts

Reaching Dow Jones Industrial Average Thresholds

The DJIA closed at 300 on December 31, 1928. It took nearly 26 years for it to reach the 400 threshold!

Once it reached 1,000 in late 1972, it “only” took about 14 years to reach 2,000.

It’s important to note that these are price return numbers and not total returns. That means they do not include dividends.

Here are the other thresholds throughout the years.

Table Properties

Dow Jones Industrial Average Threshold History

300 12/31/1928    
400 12/29/1954 6,494 9,494
500 3/12/1956 303 439
600 2/20/1959 742 1,075
700 5/17/1961 564 817
800 2/28/1964 699 1,017
900 1/28/1965 231 335
1000 11/14/1972 1,940 2,847
2000 1/8/1987 3,573 5,168
3000 4/17/1991 1,080 1,560
4000 2/23/1995 975 1,408
5000 11/21/1995 189 271
6000 10/14/1996 226 328
7000 2/13/1997 85 122
8000 7/16/1997 105 153
9000 4/6/1998 182 264
10000 3/29/1999 246 357
11000 5/3/1999 24 35
12000 10/19/2006 1,879 2,726
13000 4/25/2007 127 188
14000 7/19/2007 59 85
15000 5/7/2013 1,460 2,119
16000 11/21/2013 139 198
17000 7/3/2014 153 224
18000 12/23/2014 120 173

Which Day of the Week Has the Best Stock Market Performance?

I heard the following in Richard Thaler’s book Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics* the other day:

“Stocks tend to go up on Fridays and down on Mondays.”

Of course I can’t just read or hear—I was listening to the Audible version of the book—something like that and not investigate it.

In my spreadsheets, I found a copy of the daily closing prices for the Dow Jones Industrial Average going back to 1928. I updated it through Monday’s (August 24, 2015) closing price and ran the numbers. Below is what I found:


Down Days
Even/Up Days
Total Days
Pct. Down
Pct. Even/Up
Monday 2140 2072 4212 50.8% 49.2%
Tuesday 2116 2309 4425 47.8% 52.2%
Wednesday 2042 2406 4448 45.9% 54.1%
Thursday 2080 2298 4378 47.5% 52.5%
Friday 1986 2374 4360 45.6% 54.4%
TOTALS 10364 11459 21823 47.5% 52.5%

That information wasn’t enough for me. I also wanted to see the average performance for down days, up days, and for all days based on the day of the week. Here are those results:


Avg. Down Day
Avg. Even/Up Day
Avg. Day
Monday -0.88% 0.78% -0.06%
Tuesday -0.72% 0.74% 0.05%
Wednesday -0.73% 0.74% 0.07%
Thursday -0.71% 0.70% 0.03%
Friday -0.73% 0.69% 0.04%

So, while what Thaler says is true, Wednesday is the best day of the week performance-wise (these are price returns).

*Affiliate link

Index Performance Update for the S&P 500 and Other Indexes

Good morning!

I meant to post this over the weekend but never got around to it.

Here are the updated year-to-date returns for the indexes I follow here at AFM:

YTD Performance for the S&P 500 and Other Indexes

March 2013’s 3.75% total return for the S&P 500 was its 21st best since 1926.

Year-to-Date Total Returns for the S&P 500 and Other Indexes Through February

Here are the year-to-date returns for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, S&P Midcap 400, S&P Smallcap 600, MSCI EAFE, MSCI All World (ex-USA), MSCI Emerging Markets, Barclay’s Aggregate Bond, Crude Oil, and Gold.

Pretty boring month. The S&P 500 (the index I have the most data on) returned 1.36% for February. This was the lowest February return since 2009, when the index was down 10.65% (OUCH!).

You can download the results here:

Index Performance - February 2013

NOTE: I’m planning to add Brent Crude to the indexes next month because its more closely tied to gas prices than Crude oil.

It Only Took the Dow 1,939 Days to Get Back to 14,000

The headlines today are all about the Dow Jones Industrial Average clossing back over the 14,000 mark. It’s been 1,939 days since the last time the Dow closed above that mark. My daughter was 3-years old and I was still in my 30s. Wow!

As a side note, I noticed that Yahoo! Finance no longer allows the exporting of the Dow Jones History into Excel. That’s annoying.

Only ONE Dow Stock Is Up This Year!

Only ONE stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up this year. Can you guess which one it is? Look at the graphic below to find out.

As you can tell from the graphic below, the Dow has taken a beating this year. The index itself is down over 35% year-to-date (it’s down 28.75% on a total return basis as of yesterday’s close). Of the 29 stocks that are down this year, NONE are down less than 10% (keep in mind that I’m not including dividends on the individual stocks, which makes these numbers slightly worse than they really are).

How low can they go? And how far down do these stocks have to go before they’re considered bargains? That’s anybody’s guess. Although I’m not calling any of these stocks bargains, I will say that they have to be a lot closer to being bargains than they were at the beginning of the year.

More on this in the future…