Stock markets show more confidence after historic lows

March 8, 2012 3:47:19 PM PST
The stock markets have come a long way since hitting historic lows three years ago. In fact, the Dow Jones average is up 100 percent.

On Thursday, the Dow closed at 12,908 -- up more than 70 points. The NASDAQ closed up nearly 35 points.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) volatility index closed just under 18 Thursday. The index is an indicator of volatility in the stock market. In 2008, the index hit a record, going above 80.

"I remember those days very well they were hairy scary days," said JJ Kinahan, TD Ameritrade. "It was scary, particularly for those who didn't understand the market quite as well."

Kinahan recalls those days when the market experienced steep dives. He says despite the scares, it forced investors to look more carefully at their investment and understand more before going in. Kinahan says now clients' decisions are more informed.

"We've seen a great interest in education of how things work," said Kinahan. "It's no longer set it and forget as they used to say in terms of mutual funds."

One might think an economist would love to witness the historic shifts in the market. But the reality is Professor Tassos Malliaras watched his investments dive like the rest of us.

"In my case, most people's portfolios, the amount of money that you had dropped to what you had three or four years ago," said Malliaris, who specializes in economics and finance at Loyola University's School of Business. "It is very easy to panic and say there will be further declines, therefore, I should get out."

Professor Malliaras says the history of the market shows it will continue to grow. He finds most who held firm in their investments have made up losses from the recession and he sees lessons learned from the Great Depression which helped cap the losses.

"We should be happy and pleased and proud we did not repeat the mistakes they made at that time," said Malliaras.

With this recession, Professor Malliaras kept his investments and he's glad he did. He recommends those interested in making investment changes do so in stages.