I had a sense of disorientation when I saw the FTSE 100 flashing 6935 this morning.
Ive got so used to notingthat the index still hasnt recovered its peak of 31 December 1999, when it topped out at 6930, that I was shocked to see that it had finally got there.
I reckon thats understandable. Wehave been waiting for this moment for more than 15 years.
Im bothsurprised anddelighted to see the FTSE 100 finally overtake thatembarrassing milestone.
Or rather, millstone, because people who still believe in the power of equity investing havehad to repeatedly explain why the benchmark UK index had suffered such an apparently rotten Millennium.
Some people wrongly assumed that because the headline number was lower than in 1999, investors had only lost money since then.
That clearly isntthe case at all.
Yield Of Dreams
First, noinvestor will have thrown all their money in at the top of the stock market.
Most will have fed in money both before and after that date, when the index was trading at far lower levels.
Those who invested at market lows in the wake of the technology crash and credit crunch may have more than doubled their money.
The critics also neglect the power of dividends, which arent measured by the headline index figure, but will have delivered almost half your investment returns over the past 15 years if you reinvested them for growth.
The FTSE 100 total return index, which includes both share price growth in dividends, is up 66% over the Millennium.10,000 invested on 31December 1999 would be worth 16,694 today, with dividends reinvested.
So todays apparent milestone isnt anything of the sort.
But Im still enjoying it, though.
Foolish But Fun
Motley Fool writers have a tendency of saying that investors shouldnt be distracted by meaningless headline numbers, like todays all-time high. And technically, of course, they are correct.
But on a human level, I find thereis unquestionable emotional satisfaction in seeing the index break new ground.
It sheds the aura of stagnation (however misleading that was), and holds out the promise of further fun to come.
Next Stop 7000
So I promise to be equally surprised and delighted when the FTSE 100 breaks 7000, as it surely will. It may take time (the index has retreated slightly after hitting this mornings high), but it will get there soon enough.
And when it does, those who still believe in the long-term power of stock market investing will have a fresh story to tell, and more people will be listening.
Today’s landmark is a handy reminder that investors can make good money out of stocks and shares.
To find out how you can share in the fun, you need to read this FREE Motley Fool report 10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market sets out how investing in stocks and shares over the long-term can make you rich.
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