The following editorial appeared Wednesday in the Chicago Tribune:
In February 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average signaled the tumult to come. After closing at a record high of 12,767 on Feb. 16, the Dow flopped 416 points on Feb. 27. We tried to soothe shocked investors with a prediction that we guaranteed, in writing, to be infallible: Someday the Dow will indeed close at its final record high. Feb. 16, 2007, wasn't the day.
The Dow did reach higher highs in subsequent months. Then a plummet drove the impatient, the disgusted and the fearful from the market.
We recalled that boom and bust Tuesday as the Dow closed at its latest zenith, 14,254.
Having proved our infallibility once, we're tempted to issue another infallible prediction now, this one ending: March 5, 2013, wasn't the day. (Nor perhaps March 6, when it closed at 14,296.)
We might add that Dow highs, like pride, tend to go before a fall. Markets guarantee only one investment return: turbulence.
How to survive the ride? Perpetual patience always prevails. Albert O. Nicholas, the Milwaukee brain behind the Nicholas funds investment group, once shared this wisdom with a Chicago reporter in an interview about market volatility:
"Two-thirds of the time, stocks are going up," Nicholas said. "One-third of the time, they're going down. Don't try to guess which third is which."
Nerves-of-steel investors who live by that credo, who didn't flee stocks during the Great Recession, on Tuesday got their vindication. And the future? Once more:
Don't try to guess which third is which.