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Dow's Best First Quarter Since 1998? Here's What Could Happen Next

Frilet Patrick | hemls.fr | Getty Images

The Dow is up 10 percent so far this quarter, on track for its best Q1 since 1998. What's previously happened after a strong first quarter?

Since 1950, there have been only twelve other instances when the DJIA was up more than 8 percent in the first quarter (11 of the last 12 times took place prior to the year 2000).

Historically, a strong first quarter correlates with strong gains for the year. There are bumps along the way, but most of the time, the Dow manages to post double-digit gains for the full year.

In ten of the last twelve times it occurred, for example, the Dow finished the year with a gain of more than 15 percent when the first quarter was up more than 8 percent.

DJIA Returns When Q1 > 8%
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Full Year
2012 8.14% -2.51% 4.32% -2.48% 7.26%
1998 11.27% 1.73% -12.39% 17.07% 16.10%
1996 9.19% 1.21% 4.02% 9.62% 26.01%
1995 8.43% 9.58% 5.11% 6.85% 33.45%
1991 10.64% -0.24% 3.78% 5.00% 20.28%
1987 21.61% 4.94% 7.35% -25.32% 2.31%
1986 17.58% 4.07% -6.61% 7.22% 22.53%
1976 17.25% 0.33% -1.26% 1.46% 17.86%
1975 24.65% 14.43% -9.68% 7.37% 38.32%
1967 10.22% -0.66% 7.72% -2.33% 15.20%
1961 9.86% 1.08% 2.52% 4.27% 18.71%
1954 8.05% 9.89% 8.07% 12.19% 43.96%
Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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