Down from what?

On February 25 the Caisse de dépôt said it was down $39.8 billion in 2008. Down from what?

In January 1929 Consolidated Edison was trading at $202 in New York. By August it was $450. I could not find the price on December 31 1929, but suppose Consolidated Edison was $200 at the end of the year, did the shareholder lose money? I should look up the price in July of 1932…the nadir of the market. Top to bottom, they say, the market lost 88% of its value back them. But did it really? $450 was a giddy price for Consolidated Edison in the summer of 1929. I should try to find if its dividend was reduced over this period.

Foolishly, the Caisse bought too much ABCP, but I'd bet its assets are still producing income. How should we measure performance? Many of our stock prices are down, but, in sum, our dividends are up. I bought common stocks for the growing income they provide. The plan is working. When I get around to preparing our income tax forms, I'll work out our dividend growth for 2008. We spend the income, not the capital. Well actually we did spend some capital last year…a 'new' car in April. I have not yet borrowed to buy the stock we sold back. Soon perhaps…

Here's another 1930s example. This one is from The Battle for Investment Survival by Gerald M. Loeb which was written in 1935. In 1929, at the peak, Dupont was trading at $58. The low was $5.50 in 1932. It took until 1949 for duPont to reach its 1929 peak again. In my view, neither of those facts are relevent. How many people bought DuPont at the peak. In 1929 DuPont's dividend was $1.48 a share. The dividend was reduced in the early 1930s, but by 1939 it was well over it's 1929 figure at some $1.75. In fact, by 1936, the dividend was $1.56. Is that a long time to recover? Would it have been worth holding the good stock through the great depression?

comments/down_from_what.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/09 14:29 by tom
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