The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been hitting a lot of records lately, including ending each of the past nine sessions at closing highs. But it is only about halfway to hitting a record number of records.
The blue-chip average DJIA, -0.15% has registered 35 record closes thus far in 2017, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group. Those gains have come amid improving corporate earnings, a strong labor market, and an environment marked by both low interest rates and low inflation. They also come in a bull market that has seen stocks rise in essentially uninterrupted fashion ever since the post-financial-crisis bottom of 2009; the Dow has posted new records in every calendar year since 2013.
The records in 2017 have largely come in two chunks: a 12-day stretch of records in February, and the current streak of nine.
While 35 record closes may sound like a lot, it would only make for the 16th-highest annual number, according to data going back to 1900. The total was topped as recently as 2014, which featured 38 record-high closes, a number that was itself down from the recent peak of 52 hit in 2013. The all-time-records record occurred in 1995, when the Dow saw 70 all-time-high closes — about one every three trading days. That occurred during the run-up to the dot-com-era peak.
Of course, those totals are for full calendar years, and 2017 still has nearly five months’ worth of trading left. “While nothing is guaranteed, there’s still plenty of room for this year to add to the total of new highs,” Bespoke observed in a note.
Looking solely at records registered between Jan. 1 and Aug. 7, the date of the most recent Dow record, 2017’s total looks more impressive. The last time the blue-chip average had this many records in the first eight months of the year was in 1997, when 39 highs were notched over the comparable period. The greatest number of records ever hit in this same time period was 49, which occurred in 1987.
As the Dow has rung up its 35 historically high closes, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.24% has registered 30 records, its highest total since 2014, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.21% has scored 44, the most since 1999, according to Dow Jones data. Years in which the S&P 500 hits a record feature an average of 29 all-time-high closes, according to the data. For the Nasdaq, the tech-heavy index, on average, hits 31 records in years when it posts a new closing high.