Will 13 be the Dow’s lucky number?

Will 13 be the Dow’s lucky number?

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When the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,000 last Wednesday, it marked the 12th time that the index traversed this level. Similar to most of the other events, it was short-lived, retreating to 17,899 on Friday.

Unlike the previous two barriers of 17,000 and 16,000, which were overcome after eight and three traversings, respectively, 18,000 has proved to be a proverbial ping-pong match.

Initial 18,000 milestone short-lived

The Dow Industrial DJIA, -0.16%  closed over the 18,000 level for the first time on Dec. 23, 2014 when it ended the day at 18,024. Like the most-recent milepost, it was short-lived, lasting just four days.

After finishing at 17,983 on Dec. 30, the market dropped below 17,500 when it closed at 17,372 on Jan. 6. The index flirted with 17,000 when it closed at 17,165 on Jan. 30.

Overcoming its downward trend, the Dow began a steady ascent, finishing at 17,666 on Feb. 3. It took a total of 31 trading sessions, however, before 18,000 would be seen again. This occurred on Feb. 13 when the Dow closed at 18,019.

Bumpy ride

The Feb. 13 crossing held up for three sessions before the Dow slid back to 17,986 on February 19. Anxious to resume its run, the market closed at 18,140 the next day. Although the closing range was narrow, finishing between a low of 18,097 on March 4 and a high of 18,289 on March 2, this marked the beginning of 10 straight trading sessions above 18,000.

The Dow took a hit on March 6 when it closed at 17,857, down 279 points from its previous day’s close of 18,136. Eight trading sessions passed before it finished at 18,076 on March 18.

The March 18 event marked the beginning of seven consecutive periods that the index closed above the 18,000 level, only to reverse its course within six or fewer trading days. Six of seven of these stretches lasted three days or less.

It wasn’t until May 8 when the Dow closed above the 18,000 threshold for the 11th time that a period of relative stability ensued. This began a run of 18 sessions — the longest to date — that the index would survive at this level. Survive it did since, once again the closing range was narrow, finishing between a low of 18,011 on May 29 and a high of 18,312, the DJIA’s historic high, on May 19.

What’s ahead?

The Dow has been trending downward since May 19, dipping below 18,000 once again when it closed at 17,906 on June 4. It hit 18,000 for the 12th time when it closed at this target on June 10th. Like nine out of 11 previous traversings, it was a fleeting moment, with the Dow closing at 17,899 on Friday.

When the Dow traverses 18,000 for the 13th time, will this mark the end of the start-and-stop pattern that began almost six months ago? Will it finally stake claim to this elusive milestone once and for all and not look back? As with all stock market predictions, time will tell.

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