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 21,115.55 set on March 1, 2017. The Dow set 32 new record closing highs since the 2016 presidential election. Investors were confident that Donald Trump would 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 records set in 2017.

DateJan 25Jan 26Feb 9Feb 10Feb 13Feb 14Feb 15Feb 16
DateFeb 17Feb 21Feb 22Feb 23Feb 24Feb 27Mar 1 

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.

DateJul 12Jul 13Jul 14Jul 15Jul 18Jul 19Jul 20
Close 18,347.67 18,372.12 18,506.41 18,516.55 18,533.0518,559.0118,595.03
DateAug 11Aug 15Nov 10Nov 11 Nov 14Nov 17Nov 21
DateNov 22Nov 23Nov 25Dec 1Dec 5Dec 6Dec 7
DateDec 8Dec 9Dec 12Dec 13Dec 20  


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.

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.






October 31:

Close of 17,390.52. The FOMC announced it wouldn't raise interest rates until 2015.


  • 17,279.74 on September 19. 
  • 17,265.99 on September 18. 
  • 17,156.85 on September 17.  Fed reduced Quantitative Easing, signaling economic health. 


  • 17,138.20 on July 16 was the last gain before Dow headed into correction territory for two months. 
  • On July 3, the Dow closed at 17,068.26, the first time above 17,000.
  • It closed at 16,976.24 on July 2 and 16,956.07 on July 1.


  • 16,947.08 on June 20.
  • 16,945.92 on June 10.
  • 16,943.10 on June 9.
  • 16,924.28 on June 6.
  • 16,836.11 on June 5.
  • 16,743.63 on June 2.


  • 16,717.17 on May 30.
  • 16,715.44 on May 13.
  • 16,695.47 on May 12.
  • 16,583.34 on May 9.


The Dow digested its 2013 gains until April 30 when it hit 16,580.84. 

February 3:

The Dow hit its 2014 low of 15,372.80.

2013 Highlights 

The Dow gained 3,472.56 points, greater than any prior year on record. Its percentage increase was 26.5 percent. Here are the closing records for the year:


It set eight closing records, the last being 16,576.55 on December 31. Here are the others: 

  • 16,504.29 on December 30.
  • 16,479.88 on December 26.
  • 16,357.55 on December 24.
  • 16,294.61 on December 23.
  • 16,221.14 on December 20.
  • 16,179.08 on December 19.
  • 16,167.97 on December 18.


It set 7 closing records, the last being 16,097.33 on November 27.

October 29: 

Close of 15,680.35 on October 29

September 18:

Closed at 15,676.94. 

August 2:

Closed at 15,658.36.

July 1:

Closed at 15,460.92.


15,409.39 on May 28, and 15,056.20 on May 7, 2013. It briefly rose above 15,000 for the first time on May 2, but couldn't sustain it.

March 11:  

It closed at 14,254.38, taking five years to surpass its previous record of 14,164.53 set on October 9, 2007.

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