December 31, 2005


Why Dow May Be Off the Money: The index's weak year raises concern, but some question its value as an economic crystal ball (Tom Petruno and Josh Friedman, December 31, 2005, LA Times)

any investment professionals remain bullish about 2006. They expect that the Federal Reserve soon will stop tightening credit and that energy prices won't rise much more, giving the economy room to run.

"We think the catalyst for further stock market gains will be what it has been: global and U.S. economic growth chronically stronger and more durable than most anticipated," said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis.

As for the Dow, many believe the 109-year-old index of 30 large, blue-chip companies hasn't been an accurate barometer of the economy or the broader stock market for the last two years.

Although the Dow lost ground in 2005, the average New York Stock Exchange stock was up nearly 7%. That also was the gain of the average U.S. stock mutual fund, according to fund tracker Morningstar Inc.

Shares of many smaller companies scored even better returns, which weren't necessarily reflected in the modest yearly gains posted by the broad Nasdaq composite index or the Standard & Poor's 500.

Jim Peoples, 61, a retired healthcare executive in Agoura Hills, estimated that his portfolio rose about 10% this year, thanks to healthy advances in smaller stocks and in such market sectors as energy.

"I've definitely done better than the Dow and the other indexes," Peoples said.

The Dow also was the weakest of major stock indexes in 2004, when it added just 3.2%. Despite that poor performance, the economy expanded at a brisk pace in 2005, and corporate earnings grew at a double-digit rate, on average.

The Dow has struggled as 16 of its 30 stocks fell this year.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 31, 2005 11:41 AM

Remove the failing General Motors from the DJ top 30, and the Dow will rise nicely, thank you vey much.

Posted by: obc at December 31, 2005 12:13 PM

Inerestin how little attention the MSM pay to the S&P 500, which represents 85% of market captilization and is up 3% for the year.

Posted by: ghostcat at December 31, 2005 4:51 PM