The financial media is all over the possibility that the DJIA may eclipse the 17,000 level for the first time in the index's history. If it seems like the DJIA just recently crossed 16K, that's because it did less than eight months ago on 11/21/13. In just the last fourteen months, the DJIA surpassed 15,000 and 16,000 for the first time ever. If it seems like 1,000 point milestones are being surpassed with more frequency lately, that's because they have. The chart below shows the first time the DJIA closed above each 1,000 point threshold along with the closing price on that day since it first closed above 2,000 in 1987 (the first close above 1,000 was on 11/14/72). As shown in the chart below, prior to crossing the 15,000 level, the last time the DJIA first eclipsed a 1,000 point level was on 7/19/07 when it closed above 14K for the first time ever, and just barely at that!
The table below shows the date that the DJIA has closed above each 1,000 point threshold along with the closing level that day, the number of days it took to close above that level since it first closed above the prior 1,000 point milestone, as well as the percentage gain needed to go from one 1,000 point milestone to the next. As you can see in the table, a 1,000 point move in the DJIA is not what it used to be. Back in the mid-1990s, when the DJIA was crossing 1,000 point thresholds at a fast clip, each of those moves required a sizable gain. With the law of large numbers kicking in these days, though, a 1,000 point move requires a rally of just 6%. And once the DJIA does close above 17,000, the road to 18,000 will require a gain of less than 6%.