Watching the Dow

It has been a very long time since I was in the Trust and Investment business. I don’t read the Wall Street Journal every morning anymore. But I do watch the Dow.

Every time it reaches close to the next level, as it is now, I get excited. It’s like watching a runner getting close to the finish line. Today we are at 10,953.95! It’s been over 11,000 before. But I keep thinking, it can’t get to 12,000 if it doesn’t get over the 11,000 mark and stay there.

I remember being at my desk back on “Black Monday” October 19, 1987. I was one of the few Investment Officers at the time who wasn’t an MBA. In fact, I think I was pretty much the only one in history to be an Investment Officer without a college degree of any kind. While I had attended the Wharton School of Business at night, I didn’t take the electives that would give me a degree. I was often the only woman in the room as well. But it didn’t seem to matter that day as all of the MBAs around me were sweating and stammering as all of the phones were ringing off the hook and people were screaming and yelling with the DOW plunging 22.6% in one day.

Finally one of the guys came to me and asked why I was so happy and why my phone was ringing, but I appeared to be having pleasant conversations while they were all ready to slash their wrists.

For some unknown reason, the week before Black Monday, I was selling off everyone’s stock. I had decided it was time to re-balance and take profits and bring everyone back to their original stock position. People who had originally invested 40% of their portfolio in stock were up to 80% stock due to the market increase. I just got it into my little head (I was pregnant with my third child) to sell them all back to 40%. That put all of my accounts into large cash positions, which I used to buy back into the market at the lowest point it has ever been to this date. I think it dropped from 2,500 to 1,750 or so that day.

On days like today, watching the DOW inch past the 10,950 mark, I am reminded that just having good gut instincts about things, has served me well for many years. Not much unlike real estate. Sometimes you just know.

Good night.