Since setting an all-time high just below 27,400 in July, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has struggled to hold above 27,000, much less press on toward loftier heights.
That struggle continued on Friday.
Weighed down by falling earnings guidance, the Dow declined 22.48 points or 0.08% to 26,783.05. Having closed at 26,770.20 last Friday, the index now risks recording a weekly decline for the second consecutive week.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also reported losses, dipping 0.22% to 3,003.65 and 0.3% to 8,161.21.
Precious metals shined in the uncertain market environment. Gold climbed 0.9% to $1,518, while silver and platinum outperformed with gains of 2.7% and 1.66%. Copper and palladium also ticked higher, with each rising 0.17%.
Although fear is clearly evident in the stock market, one billionaire has a simple message for nervous investors: keep investing.
Ron Baron, a hedge fund titan worth an estimated $2.4 billion, says that investors often foolishly allow themselves to become so caught up in the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock market that they fail to recognize the fantastic long-term outlook.
“I think the 6.5% annual growth [in the market] is going to continue, on average, for the next 50 years, at least,” Baron told CNBC. “I’m thinking the next 50 years is going to be similar to the last 50 years. That would be 25 times your money if you invest now.”
By Baron’s calculations, that means the Dow Jones Industrial Average will surge to 650,000 by the time a 17-year-old high school senior reaches full retirement age. It also represents a gain of more than 2,300% from Thursday’s close at 26,805.53.
But with all the risks facing the Dow today – the trade war, a potential recession, even a possible presidential impeachment – can the market assemble enough near-term momentum to empower compounding to work its magic?
Baron says yes.
He advises nervous investors to look at the market climate 50 years ago when the Dow was languishing around the 1,000 level. While the trade war dominates the conversation today, investors in 1969 had to navigate the Vietnam War.
Investors who stayed the course secured phenomenal returns over the ensuing half-century:
“The economy then was $850 billion. It’s now $21.3 trillion. That’s up 25 times,” Baron said. “All you had to do was believe that this country was going to survive and invest then and you would have made 25 times your money.”
Click here for a live Dow Jones Industrial Average chart.