How Long Until Dow 40,000, S&P 5,000, and Nasdaq 20,000? - Cabot Wealth Network

How Long Until Dow 40,000, S&P 5,000, and Nasdaq 20,000?

After a tough start to 2022, let's look ahead to bigger and brighter things. Like when we might get Dow 40,000, S&P 5,000 and Nasdaq 20,000. They might be closer than you think.

Reading a crystal ball to see Dow 40,000

It’s been a tough couple years. It’s not worth dwelling anymore on what will hopefully be the most challenging stretch any of us experience. Let’s look forward, shall we? 2021 was much better than 2020, despite the disheartening surge of the Delta and Omicron variants. Even with the surfacing of the BA.2 subvariant, which is causing rising infections in the U.S., there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, we have high inflation, and conflict in Ukraine, but improving supply chains and the prospects of a negotiated end to Russia’s invasion could allow the world to move forward. As we do, the global economy will recover, and stock returns will likely accelerate. With that in mind, here’s a fun question to contemplate: How long will it be until we get to Dow 40,000, S&P 5,000 and the Nasdaq 20,000?

Right now, two of those three benchmarks seem really far off. But they might be closer than you think.

Dow 40,000

Remember when Dow 20,000 was such a huge milestone? That was five years ago. Now it’s at 33,000—despite the fact that the Dow has been the slowest-rising of the three major stock market indexes, at least until recently. Granted, a 33% bump in three years is unlikely to be replicated, especially not while the coronavirus continues to swirl and inflation hits a 40-year high. But a 13% jump in three years? Given the massive economic recovery that could take place in that time, it not only doesn’t seem far-fetched; it seems likely.

Ditto the S&P 500 getting to 5,000.

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S&P 5,000

Heck, the large-cap index touched as high as 4,700 to end 2021. And despite the rocky start to 2022, it’s only 13% off those highs. All it would take to push the S&P over 5,000 is a 20% return, which may seem like a lot given current market sentiment, but is not outside of the realm of possibility this year or next.

Nasdaq 20,000

As for Nasdaq 20,000, that would take a heftier 46% advance. But remember, the Nasdaq – heavy on the tech stocks that led the 2020 rally (though they’ve encountered turbulence over the last six months) and leaders of this decade-plus bull market – moves much faster than the benchmark S&P 500 and the stodgier, dividend dinosaur-heavy Dow. It was up 21% in 2021 despite all the ups and downs, and didn’t even cross the 10,000 barrier until June 2020. It crossed the 15,000-point barrier for the first time last August and even poked its head above 16,000 briefly in November before the recent selloff in growth stocks. A 64% advance from here could take a couple years. But I wouldn’t rule it out entirely in 2023 (although it seems unlikely this year).

Of course, here’s the part where I remind you that past returns are not indicative of future performance. Even as we look toward brighter, post-Covid days, there are no guarantees that the stock market will automatically keep up its remarkable ascension. The Nasdaq in particular has already hit a snag in the last few months, though it was hitting new all-time highs regularly prior to that.

But chances are, stock prices will be higher a year from now than they are today. Perhaps significantly higher.

I doubt the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq will hit any of the aforementioned benchmarks over the summer. But getting there by year end seems possible.

Ultimately, however, big shiny numbers don’t really matter anyway when it comes to indexes. They’re convenient measuring sticks, and fun talking points. And maybe that latter characteristic is what matters most right now.

We could all use a little more fun these days. And there’s nothing more fun in today’s world than looking at what will hopefully be a much brighter future.

When do you think the major indexes will hit these new all-time highs?

Chris Preston

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Investment analyst and Chief Analyst of Cabot Wealth Daily, Chris Preston brings you all the latest from the investing world. Sign up to get updates and breaking news delivered FREE to your inbox. Get unlimited access to our library of complimentary investing reports.

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*This post has been updated from an original version, published in 2020.


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