Monday, May 21, 2018
Business

Dow surges to all-time record, erasing Great Recession losses

Washington, D.C., is in debt-defying political gridlock.

Main Street is still battling high unemployment and stagnant paychecks.

Over on Wall Street, they're partying like its 2007.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up nearly 126 points Tuesday to close at 14,253.77, breaking its all-time high set Oct. 9, 2007. The record came a mere four years after wallowing at a modern-day nadir of 6,457.

The last time the Dow was at these heights, the celebration was short-lived. Within two years, the housing crash and Great Recession caused the Dow to tumble by more than half.

Stock pickers are divided over where we are headed this time.

Here's a closer look at what the latest Dow milestone means:

What caused the Dow to hit a new high?

Strong corporate profits — bolstered by workers' increased productivity — and an improving economy helped the Dow. The Federal Reserve's money-printing policies were undeniably a huge factor, too.

The Federal Reserve pumped $3 trillion of liquidity into the system while simultaneously keeping interest rates low. Low rates meant investors have been facing depressed returns from traditionally safe vehicles like certificates of deposit — a factor that drove even more money into stocks.

Is this a market bubble?

That debate will only get more heated given the Dow's new heights.

In testimony before Congress last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, "I don't see much evidence of an equity bubble" due to the Fed's monetary policies. Earnings are very high, and equity holders are being risk-averse in their behavior, he said.

A bubble occurs when prices are severely out of line with value. That doesn't seem to be happening like, say, during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s. But it's hard to tell for sure how the Fed's intervention will ultimately affect the markets, especially when it stops pumping money into the system.

Have all 30 stocks included in the Dow Jones recovered?

Hewlett-Packard is the only stock in the index that is lower than it was four years ago, down 22 percent over the period.

Who's the biggest winner in the Dow?

American Express, up almost 500 percent from March 2009.

What has happened with the rest of the stock market?

More than 400 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange hit new yearly highs Tuesday.

Among other indexes, the two most closely watched in addition to the Dow are the Standard & Poor's 500, representing the 500 highest-value U.S. stocks, and the technology-focused Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 is at a five-year high and just 2 percent shy of a record. The Nasdaq has likewise enjoyed a steady climb since 2009, up more than 150 percent. However, it's still nowhere near its high of 5,049 in 2000 before the dot-com bust.

How have Tampa Bay area stocks fared?

Several of the biggest bay area public companies in 2007 are gone. Some have been bought by bigger firms (Global Imaging Systems; Lincare Holdings), and some moved their headquarters away (Walter Energy). Then there's the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, which was publicly traded in 2007 (then called OSI Partners), went private, and recently went public again trading under the new parent name of Bloomin' Brands.

Of the remaining stalwarts, three of the top five have regained and surpassed their 2007 levels. The best of the bunch: TECO Energy and Raymond James Financial, up 41 percent and 42 percent, respectively, from six years ago.

Is this really a record?

Purists might point out that if inflation were factored in, the Dow would have to surpass 15,500 to be on par with 2007's record. Comparing a given company's stock price over time is also deceptive without accounting for dividends that have been paid out.

Why is there a disconnect between jobs and the stock markets?

Beyond the impact of the Federal Reserve, stocks have been rising on improved corporate profits. Companies have become more productive by getting more work out of fewer employees. That's a recipe for lower costs and higher profits, but not necessarily a recipe that spurs job creation.

The stock market by nature has been a leading indicator, rising before the broader economy improves and falling before a recession takes hold.

How does this compare with the recovery after the infamous market crash of the late 1920s?

The stock market crash of 2008/2009 was painful, but it was not as bad as what happened to stocks during the Great Depression. In the aftermarket of the '29 crash, stocks lost up to 89 percent of their value. Back then, it took 25 years before the markets recovered to precrash levels.

Times wires and Times research were used in this report.

Comments
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE ó The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
One of Ybor Cityís most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor Cityís most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA ó Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor Cityís biggest new projects in years ó a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Publix has been Floridaís favorite grocery chain for decades ó but some shoppers are turning their backs on the store after learning it donated more than half a million dollars to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. A handful of state advocacy group...
Updated: 7 hours ago
GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

At least one gas price tracker expects rising fuel prices to sharply curtail summer travel. "For all those that have said summer travel will be unaffected by high gas prices, we offer thousands of respondents who have strongly indicated thatís not tr...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Netflix announced a production deal Monday with Barack and Michelle Obama that will see the former first couple create a wide range of content for the streaming service.The deal, talks for which had first been reported in March, will encompass a wide...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Published: 05/21/18

Hernando Business Digest for May 25

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL UPGRADES SURGICAL SYSTEM: Oak Hill Hospital recently acquired the latest da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which has broader capabilities than prior generations of the system. The new system is designed with the goal of furt...
Published: 05/21/18
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/21/18