Dow Highest Closing Records

Compare to Dow Jones Closing History: Top Highs, Lows Since 1929

trader reacting to Dow Jones Highs
Trader reacting to Dow Jones setting new records in 2017. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Dow's highest closing record is 21,528.99 set on June 19, 2017. The Dow has set 39 new record closing highs since the 2016 presidential election. Investors remain confident that Donald Trump will work with Congress to pass business-friendly legislation. That includes tax cuts and other job-boosting measures. He also promised to reduce health care regulations

The stock market, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, historically performs similarly to the economy.

bear market occurs during a recession and a bull market during an expansion. Here is the history of the Dow since the Great Depression. It shows how stock market fluctuations reflect natural stages of the business cycle

2017 Highs

The Dow breached 20,000 on January 25, 2017. It hit 20,000.77 just moments after the New York Stock Exchange opened at 9:30 a.m. EST. It closed at 20,068.51. Just 42 trading sessions before, it hit 19,000 on November 22, 2016. That is the second-fastest rise in U.S. history. The record is the 24 sessions it took to go from 10,000 to 20,000 in 1999. (Source: "Dow Hits 20,000 for First Time," The Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2017.)

Here are the 22 records set in 2017.

DateJan 25Jan 26Feb 9Feb 10Feb 13Feb 14
Close20,068.5120,100.9120,172.4020,269.3720,412.1620,504.41
       
DateFeb 15Feb 16Feb 17Feb 21Feb 22Feb 23
Close20,611.8620,619.7720,624.0520,743.0020,775.6020,810.32
       
DateFeb 24Feb 27Mar 1Jun 1Jun 2Jun 9
Close20,821.7620,837.4421,115.5521,144.1821,206.2921,271.97
       
DateJun 13Jun 14Jun 16Jun 19  
Close21,328.4721,374.5621,384.2821,528.99  

2016 Highs

The Dow's 2016 closing high was 19,974.62 set on December 20, 2016. The Dow's November streak came after falling 638 points, or 3.4 percent, in futures trading as investors initially reacted to Trump's unexpected presidential win on November 8. Traders regained confidence after Trump struck a cooperative tone in Wednesday morning's acceptance speech.

Here are the 26 records set in 2016. Seventeen occurred after the election.

DateJul 12Jul 13Jul 14Jul 15Jul 18Jul 19
Close 18,347.67 18,372.12 18,506.41 18,516.55 18,533.0518,559.01
       
DateJul 20Aug 11Aug 15Nov 10Nov 11Nov 14
Close18,595.0318,613.5218,636.5218,807.8818,847.6618,868.69
       
DateNov 15Nov 21Nov 22Nov 23Nov 25Dec 1
Close18,923.0618,956.6919,023.8719,083.1819,152.1419,191.93
       
DateDec 5Dec 6Dec 7Dec 8Dec 9Dec 12
Close19,216.2419,251.7819,549.6219,614.8119,756.8519,796.43
       
DateDec 13Dec 20    
Close19,911.2119,974.62    

 

In July and August, the Dow rose as investors flocked to safe U.S. markets after turbulence rocked the European Union. On June 24, the Dow fell 610.32 points the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. (For more, see Brexit.) That threatened the U.S. businesses that are the U.K's largest investors. On July 13, the UK elected a new prime minister. On July 14, a terrorist attacked the French resort town of Nice. On July 15, the Turkish military failed in a coup attempt on President Recep Erdogan's government. 

Before that, the Dow was in a market correction between August 2015 and April 19, 2016. It fell to a low of 15,660.18 on February 11.

The 2016 downturn began January 4 when the Dow fell 467 points. Investors worried about a slowdown in China's economic growth. Two days later it dropped another 400 points when China changed how it pegs the yuan to the dollar. By January 7, the Dow had fallen 5.2 percent to 16,514.10, the worst yearly start ever. The next day, it dropped to 16,346.45. For the week, the Dow lost 1,078.58 points or 6.18 percent. The damage continued. By January 20 it fell to 15,464.97 in intraday trading but closed up at 15,766.74. Investors panicked over plummeting oil prices, the devaluation of the yuan, and turmoil in China's stock market.

2015 Highs 

After setting the record high in May 2015, the Dow fell 531 points August 21, closing at 16,459.75. On August 24, it fell another 1,089 points in the first few minutes of trading, to 15,370.33.

 That correction was more than 16 percent lower than its all-time high set in May, putting it into a market correction but not a bear market. Investors worried about China's yuan devaluation and the uncertainty over the Fed's rate increase. The market closed higher, at 15,871.39. The selloff continued on Tuesday, when the Dow closed at 15,666.44, but regained its upward momentum on Wednesday, closing at 16,285.51. For more, see Black Monday

Why is the Dow so volatile? Just a few companies were responsible for the 2015 highs. Companies like Apple and IBM borrowed billions to buy back shares, thanks to record-low interest rates. Why? It artificially raises their earnings-per-share and the prices of the remaining outstanding stocks. One analyst said that 99 companies in the S&P 500 boosted their earnings-per-share by 4 percent, simply by lowering the number of shares outstanding.

Here are the six records set in 2015.

 
Date Feb 20 Feb 24 Feb 25 Mar 2 May 18 May 19
Close  18,140.44 18,209.19 188,224.57 18,288.63 18,298.88 18,312.39

2014 Highs 

The Dow closed at 18,053.71 on December 26, its high for the year. It's low for the year was 15,372.80, reached on February 3.  Share repurchases among the S&P 500 companies were 59 percent higher in the first quarter of 2014 than the first quarter in 2013. In total, $159.3 billion was spent, the largest amount since 2007 — right before the stock market crashed. (Source: Bert Dohrman, “Why Are Stocks Still Rising? Is This a Bubble?” Forbes,July 24, 2014.)

As a result, stock market gains since the 2008 financial crisis have been on mediocre volume. Only three days traded more than 200 million shares, a level similar to the late 1990s. Volume fell after the recession and hasn't returned. For more, see Dow Rockets, Volumes Plummet.

Here are the other highs in 2014.

On July 3, the Dow closed above 17,000 for the first time. It hit a new record on July 16, before heading into correction territory for two months. On September 17, the Fed reduced quantitative easing, signaling economic health. On October 31, the FOMC announced it wouldn't raise interest rates until 2015. Investors applauded the guarantee for lower interest rates for the remainder of 2014.

Here are the 39 records set in 2014.

DateFeb 3Apr 30May 9May 12May 13May 30
Close15,372.8016,580.8416,583.3416,695.4716,715.4416,717.17
       
DateJun 2Jun 5Jun 6Jun 9Jun 10Jun 20
Close16,743.6316,836.1116,924.2816,943.1016,945.9216,947.08
       
DateJul 1Jul 2Jul 3Jul 16Sep 17Sep 18
Close16,976.2416,956.0717,068.2617,138.2017,156.8517,265.99
       
DateSep 19Oct 31Nov 5Nov 6Nov 7Nov 10
Close17,279.7417,390.5217,484.5317,554.4717,573.9317,613.74
       
DateNov 11Nov 13Nov 18Nov 20Nov 21Nov 24
Close17,614.9017,652.7917,687.8217,719.0017,810.0617,817.90
       
DateNov 26Nov 28Dec 2Dec 3Dec 5Dec 22
Close17,827.7517,828.2417,879.5517,912.6217,958.7917,959.44
       
DateDec 23Dec 24Dec 26   
Close18,024.1718,030.2118,053.71   

2013 Highlights 

The Dow gained 3,472.56 points during 2013, greater than any prior year on record. Its percentage increase was 26.5 percent.

It recovered from the Great Recession on March 5, 2013. It closed at 14,253.77, taking five years to surpass its previous record of 14,164.53 set on October 9, 2007. It rose above 15,000 for the first time on May 7. 

Here are the 52 closing records for the year:

DateMar 5Mar 6Mar 7Mar 8Mar 11Mar 12
Close14,253.7714,296.2414,329.4914,397.0714,447.2014,450.06
       
DateMar 13Mar 14Mar 26Mar 28Apr 2Apr 9
Close14,455.2814,539.1414,559.6514,578.5414,662.0114,673.46
       
DateApr 10Apr 11May 3May 7May 8May 10
Close14,802.2414,865.1414,973.9615,056.2015,105.1215,118.49
       
DateMay 14May 15May 17May 21May 28Jul 11
Close15,215.2515,275.6915,354.4015,387.5915,409.3915,460.92
       
DateJul 12Jul 15Jul 18Jul 23Aug 1Aug 2
Close15,464.3015,484.2615,548.5415,567.7415,628.0215,658.36
       
DateSep 18Oct 29Nov 6Nov 8Nov 11Nov 13
Close15,676.9415,680.3515,746.8815,761.7815,783.1015,821.63
       
DowNov 14Nov 15Nov 18Nov 21Nov 22Nov 25
Close15,876.2215,961.7015,976.0216,009.9916,064.7716,072.54
       
DowNov 26Nov 27Dec 18Dec 19Dec 20Dec 23
Close16,072.8016,097.3316,167.9716,179.0816,221.1416,294.61
       
DowDec 24Dec 26Dec 30Dec 31  
Close16,357.5516,479.8816,504.2916,576.66  

2008-2009 Recession

The Dow's drop was more painful than in any other downturn. It fell more than 50 percent in just 17 months. That was less than the 80 percent drop during the Great Depression, but that loss took three years.

On October 9, 2007, the Dow closed at its pre-recession all-time high of 14,164.43. But fourth quarter gross domestic product growth was -1 percent, announcing the start of the recession. (It was later re-estimated at a positive 2.9 percent.) The Dow started declining gradually. After the failure of Bear Stearns in April 2008 and a negative GDP report in Q2 2008, the Dow dropped to 11,000. Many analysts felt that this 20 percent decline was the market bottom.

But it wasn’t the bottom. On Monday, September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. On Wednesday, panicky bankers withdrew $144 billion from money market funds, almost causing a collapse.

On September 29, 2008, the Dow fell 770 points. That was its largest single-day point drop ever. Investors were stunned that the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion bailout bill to save failing banks. The Senate reintroduced the bailout as TARP on October 3. Nevertheless, the Dow plummeted 13 percent in October. By November 20, 2008, it fell to 7,552.29, a new low.

That was still not the real market bottom. The Dow climbed to 9,034.69 on January 2, 2009, before screeching down to 6,594.44 on March 5, 2009.

On July 24, 2009, the Dow finally reversed course. It beat its January high, rising to 9,093.24 by close of day.

2001 Recession

The Dow peaked on January 14, 2000, closing at 11,722.98, thanks to the boom in Internet businesses. It started falling soon afterward, hitting its first bottom of 9,796 on March 7. It bounced around until the markets closed following the terrorist attacks on September 11. When the markets reopened on September 17, 2001, the Dow dropped to 8,920.70. Threats of war drove the Dow down until October 9, 2002. On that day, it closed at 7,286.27, a 37.8 percent decline from its peak. No one knew for sure if the bull market had begun until the Dow hit a higher low on March 11, 2003, closing at 7,524.06.

1998 Currency Crisis

In 1997, Thailand cut its peg to the dollar, leading to a devaluation of currency throughout southeast Asia. A year later, Russia devalued the ruble and defaulted on its bonds. The stock market dropped 20 percent. The Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund almost collapsed, threatening to push its banking investors into bankruptcy. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan convinced them to support the hedge fund, averting further disaster.

1990-1991 Recession

Iraq invaded Kuwait in July 1990, causing the Dow to drop 18 percent in three months, from 2,911.63 on July 3 to 2,381.99 on October 16, 1990.

1987 Stock Market Crash

On October 19, 1987 the Dow fell 22.6 percent, from 2,246.73 to 1,738.74. The Black Monday stock market crash may have been caused by computer trading that forced sell orders when the market turned down. The Dow didn't regain its August 25, 1987, peak of 2,722.42 for two years. The loss of liquidity from this crash led to the Savings and Loan Crisis in 1989.

1980-1982 Recession

The Dow dropped 16 percent, from a high of 903.84 on February 13, 1980, to a low of 759.13 on April 21, 1980. The Federal Reserve, under Paul Volcker, lowered the Fed funds rate to 8.5 percent in response. The Dow rose to 1,004.32 on April 28, 1981. But the Fed then raised rates to combat inflation, which reduced business spending. By August 12, 1982, the Dow had dropped 22.6 percent, to 776.92.

1973-1975 Recession

By December 4, 1974, the Dow had fallen 45 percent from its peak of 1,051.7 on January 11, 1973. To find out the complex causes of this recession, see How Nixon Created Stagflation.

1970 Recession

The Dow dropped 30 percent between December 31, 1968 and May 26, 1970, from 908.92 to 631.6.

1962 Cuban Missile Crisis

The United States launched an embargo against Cuba in February 1962. The Dow dropped 26.5 percent from its post-election height of 728.8 on December 1, 1961, to its June 26, 1962 low of 535.76. Tensions rose in October 1962. The Dow dropped 2 percent the day after President Kennedy's October 22 speech.

1960 Recession

The Dow fell 13.9 percent from its December 31, 1959 height of 679.36 to its November 1, 1960, low of 585.24.

Recession of 1957

The Dow dropped 14.1 percent, from its height of 506.21 on August 1, 1957 to its low of 434.71 on November 1, 1957.

Recession of 1953

The Dow fell 7.5 percent between January 1 and September 1, 1953.

1949 Recession

The Dow dropped 19.3 percent between June 1948 and June 1949.

1945 Recession

The Dow fell 19.3 percent between June and October 1946. (Source:“Business Cycle Expansions, and Contractions,” NBER.)

The Great Depression

The Dow fell 90 percent. For more see, Stock Market Crash of 1929.

For more about the causes of these recessions, see Recession History