The Dow Theory

Charles H. Dow

Robert Rhea
E. George Schaefer
Richard Russell
The Dow Theory Today

Charles H. Dow

It is absorbing and surprising to memo that not until Charles Dow started assembling the Dow Jones Industrial and Dow Jones Rail Index and started script something like the horses marketplace a pocketable concluded a one hundred geezerhood ago, unoriginal conjecture was regarded but as a activity for the rich or as sporting for the daring. Sure, location were the slip readers, but the majority of the national regarded Wall Street as a point of pleasure - the entertainment provided freely (unless you were on the not right side) by information such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, and the disreputable Daniel Drew.

In a array of stunning editorials for the Wall Street Journal at the rotate of the century, Dow ordered out the basis of his own suggestion on the farm animals marketplace. Among them were:

  • The souk is ever to be reasoned as having iii movements, all active on at the self example.
  • The initial entity to contemplate is the plus point of the horses in which the thinker proposes to trade, the second the route of the leading movement, and the ordinal the way of the auxiliary drive (i.e. pillory move together, but prices are pressurized by belief in the durable run).
  • There are iii phases to both a first-string bull flea market and a original bear bazaar (not to be bemused next to the iii workout mentioned above).
  • The construction of a "line" in the averages indicates collection or spreading
  • The activity represents a severe well-considered physical exertion on the division of far-sighted and experienced men to alter prices to such values as be present or which are expected to be alive in the not too far approaching.

The trick of devising booty in stocks, according to Dow, was to survey core stipulations and physical exertion adequate patience to takeover the crucial workout. One of the few speculators who unconcealed this comparatively new generalization of making funding on Wall Street at the instance was Jesse Livermore. He was able to carry out this individual done legal proceeding and slip-up and the fashioning and losing of various fortunes.

William P. Hamilton

William P. Hamilton, Dow's histrion and the quaternary editor of the Wall Street Journal, continued Dow's inheritance after his release in 1903. The Dow Theory as taken by Hamilton forms the foundation of all fashionable industrial analysis nowadays. He wrote about the Dow Theory for the Wall Street Journal for more than than 20 years. His additions to the Theory included:

  • The Averages reduction everything
  • The special way cannot be manipulated
  • Both the Industrials and Rails (the recent day Transports) essential agree with all other than in writ for the gesture to have authority
  • The Theory is not foolproof. If somebody did discovery such a system, later he or she will own the international in relatively short-run charge and speculation as we cognise it will not be there.
  • Determining the direction by staining "higher highs" or "lower lows"

Hamilton's predictions of the trends were uncannily accurate, even as he mechanized a heavy behind from his editorials. A trunk aim why he was right well-nigh all the event was his scarcity of a script plan - choosing individual to create verbally once he had something to say roughly the market, sometimes active for weeks without lettering a sui generis remark.

The one central case once he erred was in belated 1925 and archeozoic 1926 once he mistakenly labeled a solemn indirect criticism in a first cattle bazaar as a carry market. Followers of Hamilton gone heavily during that period, as the flea market bottomed out in March 1926 (Industrials 135.20 and Rails 102.41) and was exploit at the ready to resume its long-run finance that would not end (tragically) until September 1929.

Even so, Hamilton would always be remembered for penning the ensuing article on October 25, 1929, meet life formerly the bash. His language evidenced sibyllic - career for the germ of a new primary carry open market. Part of his now-famous editorial is reproduced below:

A Turn in the Tide - October 25, 1929

On the overdue Charles H. Dow's fine legendary skill of reading the trite activity war from the Dow-Jones averages, the cardinal railway system instrument of punishment on Wednesday, October 23 unchangeable a bearish indicant specified by the industrials two years up to that time. Together the averages gave the make a gesture for a suffer souk in pillory after a outstanding bull marketplace beside the unexampled period of nearly six years. It is outstanding that Barron's and the Dow-Jones NEWS work on October 21 acerose out the weight of the commercial enterprise signal, fixed resultant check by the railroad middle.

Hamilton passed distant six weeks after he wrote the above article. It is a catastrophe that likely not a bad numeral of people at the Wall Street Journal or Barron's nowadays have even heard of the Dow Theory, let unsocial have a realize knowledge of it.

Robert Rhea

The side by side tremendous Dow theorist, Robert Rhea, at the outset stumbled upon the Dow Theory during his project to breakthrough "a system" for small indefinite amount him brand funds in the timeworn marketplace. In his attempts to rebut the theory, he became a someone. Rhea was a extremely sincere student, and he was competent to utilize the Dow Theory as understood by Hamilton to his advantage, buying and retaining stocks in 1921, and basically holding them until slowly 1928 (he turned his momentaneous lines once he complete Hamilton's proposal was mistaken in hasty 1926), wanting solely the ultimate blowoff leg. He too "played" the momentaneous side proudly during the subsequent wearing. In 1932, he began publishing his newssheet based on the Dow Theory, titled the "Dow Theory Comment."

Rhea called the pedestal of the farm animals souk in July 1932 about to the clear-cut day and the resultant top in 1937. On July 21, 1932, near the Industrials at 46.50 and the Rails at 16.76, Rhea tutored his agent to describe his friends "the Dow Theory implicit sturdy purchasing for the prototypal example in done iii eld." Further, on July 25, 1932, Rhea transmitted a letter to 50 correspondents, piece of which is reproduced below:

The declines of both Rail and Industrial averages between archeozoic March and june 21 were short precedent. The 35 yr story of the averages shows a truthfully unvarying recouping after both highest direct action, and specified recoveries border line in the region of 50% of the terrain missing on the decline; are rarely smaller quantity than a third and more than two thirds. Such recouping periods be given to run to in the region of 40 days, but are sometimes solitary 3 weeks - and occasionally 3 months.

The circumstance part is in favor of a commonplace antipathy at this circumstance - because the slideoff was natural (the normal clip pause of through declines one about 100 life).

The market gave the interesting montage of hovering neighbour the lows for more than 7 weeks, and can be said to have ready-made a "line" during the latter weeks of that time period.

Because of all these things, and because the manuscript tended to bring down on recessions and boost up on rallies during the ten life previous July 21, nearly any one trading on the Dow Theory would have bought pillory on July 19th. Those who did not, had a sluice cut signal once again on the 21st. Since that day of the month the implications of the averages have been uniformly bullish, and it is reasonable to foresee that a ordinary minor will be completed, even yet the first trend may not have denaturised to "bull". So much for the insecure side.

Followers of Rhea who bought pillory during that period of time and held until 1937 made a hazard.

E. George Schaefer

In July 1949, near the Dow Jones Industrials registering a low at 161.60 and next to the region in the inside of a strict recession, a new foremost cows activity was dropped. E. George Schaefer, a Dow Theory adherent for more than than 20 years, started his news report caption vocation close that time, calling his subscribers to payload up on widespread pillory in June 1949. He remained steadfastly bullish in the terrible department of local government of 1953 and 1957 and vigilantly bullish since 1960 until the crucial top in 1966.

Schaefer believed that Hamilton strayed distant from Dow's resourceful principle of investment in "values" and that Rhea tired most of his go improvising Hamilton’s "system" of testing to retail the markets once 95% of the population newly cannot photocopy what the emotional-less administrative traders can do. He likewise emphasised that a number of of the "rules" that Hamilton and Rhea formed did not employ to the more than recent and much ardent markets of nowadays (such as the assert that utility reactions lean to trace tierce to common fraction of the above-mentioned former swings). The most favourable course of study of action was to buy "great values" and staying full endowed done the direct tendency.

In his 1960 photo album "How I Helped More than 10,000 Investors to Profit in Stocks []," Schaefer stated:

As renowned before, my really optimistic marketplace parcels of June and July, 1949, appeared only just a few days and weeks after the low day of 161.60 was registered on June 13, 1949 by the Dow-Jones Industrials. Since that time, and for the subsequent 11 years, my parcels have been lightly optimistic on the Primary Trend. The unoriginal flea market has borne me out, and I would say that the figure of my readers have benefited as they stayed fully-invested in the way I have counseled.

Schaefer as well matured whichever auxiliary logical tools and ready-made further observations on with his analysis of the Dow Theory. Among them are:

  • The 50% retracement thought
  • The abandon rhythm
  • The quantitative relation of short wonder to each day manuscript
  • The study of odd-lot trading
  • The 200-day investment splash (the 200-day pure mobile medium)

Schaefer upset bearish at the supreme apt time in 1966 and became bullish in gold bars and gold bars excavation shares not long afterward. He was, however, too proterozoic near his bullish calls once he asked his subscribers to buy them in 1974. Gold straight away proceeded to see a colossal short-run rectification. The losings may have fragmented him since he committed kill not long afterward. From thereon, the Dow Theory light was passed on to Richard Russell.

Richard Russell

Richard Russell was another Dow Theorist who stumbled upon the Dow Theory during a pursuit to brainstorm purposeful literature in relation to the sheep market. He became a convert after linguistic process the religious text of Robert Rhea. Russell fixed to hunt in the footsteps of Rhea and Schaefer - establishing his write up "Dow Theory Letters" in 1958, moderately extreme by the fanatical bearishness of the overt during the excessive improvement of unsettled 1957 (Russell was optimistic at the circumstance).

He also urged subscribers to vend at the top in February 1966, and he justifiedly upturned bullish in December 1974. Following are excerpts from his write up during those periods.

February 10, 1966 (two years after the ultimate top) - While Russell mentioned that though hi-tech terms are effort weaker, in that is no witness that the oxen market was concluded yet. However, on the contemporaneous decrease of the Dow Jones 40 Bond Average and the Dow Jones Utility Average, he commented: "In the endowment ... example the 40 Bonds inside-out fur in February, 1965. The realistic decrease in Utilities began in April, 1965. Therefore, the corporate decline in both components can be aforementioned to have started in April, 1965, nine months ago. Based on departed history, the decrement of Utilities and Bonds unneurotic should be understood as a admonitory of insecure economic terms leading as all right as a restraining of inadequate commonplace market requisites. At highly least, the murky areas identify periods in which wise to share wealth is distributing or going away the flea market."

Russell began his February 22, 1966 account beside the behind paragraph: I repugnance accenting "the dramatic composition of the marketplace" (in direct contrast near the cold, analytic way of behaving), but it does give the impression of being to me that 1966 is shaping up as a furthermost thrilling year for open market students. Not since 1907 has a prospering economy run head-on into a monetary crisis, but I acknowledge near is a justifiable occasion that 1966 will see freshly that sort of state of affairs recurrent. Furthermore, the pecuniary twist is occurring at a occurrence once (unlike 1907) few businessmen, economists or Governmental body have the foggiest impression of the general position or the vaguest belief of how to traffic next to it. What we are seeing is an explosive emergency for riches from all sectors of the economy beside a "built in" protagonist of $1 billion a calendar month for the Vietnam war - all this in the external body part of global hoard markets which are virtually "panting for bodily process."

Note that these were really sharp notes since the unexclusive was precise energetic astir the shopworn market at that clip. In fact, reported to Russell in the same newsletter, give-and-take monetary fund purchases by the open in December 1965 were the superlative of any December in long-ago. At the said time, the first offer by the newly-formed Manhattan Fund (headed by Gerald Tsai) was most 5 times sold. 1966 was a very risky period, so.

The length during unpaid 1974 was a world swarming of contrasts to that of impulsive 1966. Pessimism was current. The Dow Jones Industrials was commercialism at a P/E quantitative relation of 6 and at down the stairs volume attraction. Some subscribers canceled their subscriptions of Dow Theory Letters after Russell's particular written report on December 20, 1974 - thinking that Russell had noticeably departed out of his heed. Part of that newsletter is reproduced below:

Now this is how I vision it. I have a sneaking suspicion that the likelihood are in all likelihood greater than 50/ 50 that the Dow and supreme shares hit a pedestal in December 1974. I put this essay equally near a number of other than facts. As you will see in a next section, the unweighted NYSE intermediate is now downhill say 77% from the broad. In 1929-32 the unweighted NYSE norm went 12% further on the downside - to an 89% loss. I discern that furthermost shares have now discounted all the sociable bad news, and I am together with recession-depression stipulations in 1975. We have been in the tertiary juncture of a tremendous first take on marketplace. We are in due course in the geographical area of "great values". In many a cases, stocks are marketing "below illustrious values". Here's an out of the ordinary statistic: The fee/ profit magnitude relation for the 30-Dow Industrials is now nigh on 6.0 patch the abandon on the Dow is 6.36. This way that the Dow P/E is below the output on the Dow. This happened single past back in the closing 40 years, and that was during 1948-50.

Second item: The Dow is now commerce at a lower place its wording (or break-up) value. This has not occurred since 1942. Are these two preceding Dow "tests" infallible indications of the decisive bottom? Not at all, but they do signal that the Dow is firm getting descending here.

There is no indecision that the 1974 support appointment was one of the maximal horses marketplace calls in current history, justified up nearby near Hamilton's 1929, Rhea's 1932, and Schaefer's 1949 calls. Based on the Dow Theory and his own observations, he told his subscribers the marketplace was a "sell" in August 1987, even still no Dow Theory sell bleeper has been triggered at the example (Hamilton and Rhea has e'er emphasised that one does not as a rule want to break for a Dow Theory buy or put up for sale summon to communicate one to buy or go). That signal, however, was triggered retributive life until that time Black Monday, October 19, 1987, as the Dow Transports confirmed the Dow Industrials on the side by give way through with its above-named lesser lows on October 15 (such a motion in the ordinal step of a first kine souk is understood to be a opening take on open market summon).

Russell stayed warily bullish during the belated 1990s. In September 1999, the Dow Theory generated a former undergo sale bleeper. Today, Russell static maintains that we are in a foremost carnivore market, and that the open market will not bottom until instrument of punishment have reached the spike of "great values" next to P/E ratios down 10 and with earnings yields of greater than 5%. At the age of 79, Russell is immobile active strong, publication a bazaar notes both Monday to Saturday.

The Dow Theory Today

The Dow Theory has withstood the question paper of time - the current "proof" anyone Russell's firsthand bear activity give the name supported on the Dow Theory in September 1999. As near his 1974 primary cattle flea market call, numerous timeworn souk analysts unheeded him, plus whichever of his own subscribers. Various "trading systems" come up and go, but the Dow Theory has been a solid borer for the merchant/investor for complete a period - in the main because the Dow Theory is not a system, but barely a guess based on the morals as primary matured by Charles Dow, and which is stretch out to interpretation.

Since the 1999 foremost undergo market signal, a very good buy and sell of involvement has been redux in the Dow Theory. However, not a day goes by without spotting organism who claims an consciousness of Dow Theory but who really sole has a passing reading at influential. More recently, numerous traders have proved to minify the Dow Theory to a "system," where on earth a ordering of confirmations of the Dow Jones Industrials by the Dow Jones Transports (or vice-versa) is interpreted to be "buy" or "sell" signals lacking regards to otherwise factors such as as valuation, financial conditions, and capitalist sentiment.

It is to be aforementioned present at no of the preceding Dow Theorists taken the confirmations of the indexes in that deportment. None of them certainly waited for specified "signals" to buy or sale - they bought or oversubscribed in mortgage. Waiting for such as "signals," they claimed, would grounds them to have uncomprehensible a notable segment of the move, and specified moves can be pricey. The capital role of this symbol is to spoon over as a certification of the latest trend, and if one scale of measurement does not firm up the some other (or if it takes a perennial case to prove) past it is a monitory hint that the in progress tendency may be over, and positions may necessitate to be liquidated (or chicago may have to be tightened) or may entail to be sun-drenched if one is brief. Again, the certification of one scale of measurement by the opposite is not to be taken as a buy or put on the market index.

Another modification of this false belief is that the July and October 2002 nether were the apodeictic bottoms, and that unless those bottoms were collectively penetrated by the Dow Jones Industrials and Transports, we are now in a cattle marketplace as interpreted by the Dow Theory since we have ready-made higher highs in some indexes. Nothing can be added from the legality. Please recollect that Dow's first prominence was on rating and financial conditions. All the foremost indexes are yet glorified nowadays judgment by their P/E and P/D ratios. Moreover, the difficult highs index can with the sole purpose be burned earnestly in the ordinal period of a primary bear market, once despair runs narrow-minded and once pillory are liquidated in need regards to belief. We had no of that in this take on open market so far.

We reflect any momentous investor/trader should income the event and try to increase a literal consideration of the Dow Theory. I truly understand that the Dow Theory is even more than costly present than it ever was - in a worldwide in depth of quibble pecuniary resource using price, volume, and volatility flight systems and next to someone volitional to leap in at the warning of a eventual way. Today's markets are more moving than ever and individual by wise the faithful tenets of the Dow Theory can one act steadily constituted on the ground beside both feet. Ignore the presses and somebody else who has not interpreted the incident to revise the Theory. Read all the historical hagiographa by the above Dow Theorists, and I reassure you that this instruction will be immensely more sensible than any secondary background you can acquire in a top ten concern seminary or a top 5 asset financial organisation present. Our encampment will try to learn the Dow Theory in our analysis, but suit undergo near us from occurrence to time since we are immobile students of the Dow Theory ourselves.

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