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Dow Jones Industrial Average Hits 23,000. Now What?

The Dow Jones just keeps moving higher, but it may not be the best time to buy

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On Oct. 18, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new all-time intraday high of 23,145 as of this writing. Investors who aren’t playing the indices can gain exposure to the Dow Jones today through the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEARCA:DIA). With the index up 16.3% in 2017, though, how much longer can this rally continue?

The Dow Jones is comprised of 30 holdings, which are not weighted by market cap. Instead, they are weighted by stock price. Thus, stocks like General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) make up the lowest weighting, while stocks such as Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) make up the largest weighting.

Stocks like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) sit somewhere in the middle.

Dow Jones Earnings

Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) all reported Tuesday. In all, five Dow Jones components have reported and by the end of the week, that number will double to 10.

The following week, another five will report, including three of the five largest (by index weight) with BA, MMM and McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD). On the one hand (with five stocks in), bulls could argue that the Dow is doing well and that should continue. On the other hand, bears could say the market has run quite a bit and earnings tend to bring volatility into the market. Without a 5% correction in more than a year and even a 3% correction in almost eight months, how long before the music stops?

I’ll be the first to admit, we’ve had our excuses. Two devastating hurricanes, a negative jobs number in September, the brink of war with North Korea. You name it. But the fact is, we haven’t had a correction and earnings are strong. Earnings could cause the 3% to 5% correction, but I wouldn’t expect it to derail the Dow Jones today.

Are We Too Stretched?

Dow Jones Industrial Average chart
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We can see at the top of the chart that the DJI has a relative strength index (RSI) reading of 82. The RSI measures how overbought or oversold a stock is, with a reading north of 70 suggesting it’s getting too hot. It’s hit above eighty twice before in the past 12 months. But the reactions show an important distinction.

Look at the pink boxes now. The first, in December 2016, the Dow rallies then consolidates for the better part of two months. The second came in March 2017, which led to a reasonable pullback of almost 1,000 points. (Note: 1,000 points sounds like a lot, but in this context isn’t even 5%).

Finally, at the bottom we have the MACD, which measures momentum. The Dow Jones is not quite to the levels the MACD sported in its last two big runs. Further, the momentum remains bullish and may not wane.

In a nutshell, the RSI tells us the Dow Jones is overbought, but the MACD suggests more upside could come.

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