Dow Theory Applied to Silver?

A reader asks:

“How do you relate Dow Theory to the Silver market?”

Our response:

Charles H. Dow was first an economist, then a commodities expert and finally a stock market analyst. Before Charles H. Dow co-founded the Wall Street Journal, he was better known for writing the “Leadville Letters” for the Providence Journal. The “Leadville Letters” reported on Colorado’s silver mining boom in 1879. After co-founding the Wall Street Journal, the lessons learned in the silver mines ofColorado were found to have application on Wall Street.

Charles Dow was keenly aware of the importance and correlation between commodity prices and stock prices. Many of Dow’s articles in the Wall Street Journal were focused on the movement of commodity prices and all costs of production that went into commodity prices from shipping to the finished product.

As an example, Dow made the following observation:

“For the past 25 years the commodity market and the stock market have moved almost exactly together. The index number representing many commodities rose from 88 in 1878 to 120 in 1881. It dropped back to 90 in 1885, rose to 95 in 1891, dropped back to 73 in 1896, and recovered to 90 in 1900. Furthermore, index numbers kept in Europe and applied to quite different commodities had almost exactly the same movement in the same time. It is not necessary to say to anyone familiar with the course of the stock market that this has been exactly the course of stocks in the same period.”

Much of Dow Theory is based on Dow’s observation of the price action of commodities and then later applied to stock prices. The application of Dow Theory to the price of silver, gold or almost any other commodity is bringing Dow’s work back to its roots. In fact, Dow’s observations in commodities and then later applied to stocks is the basis for much of the modern fundamental and technical analysis that is done today, which includes the quest to determine the “value” of a company and the uses of Fibonacci numbers.

Dow Theory is applicable to all prices that are subject to the whims of market forces. Dow Theory also accounts for manipulation and hoarding. Dow Theory attempts to account for what can reasonably be expected of price action in the not too distant future.


  • Dow, Charles. Review and Outlook. Wall Street Journal.February 21, 1901.
  • Bishop, George W. Jr. Who Was the First American Financial Analyst? Financial Analysts Journal, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Mar.-Apr., 1964), p.26-28.
  • Bishop, George W. Jr. New England Journalist: Highlights in the Newspaper Career of Charles H. Dow. The Business History Review.Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring, 1960) p. 77-93.
  • More on Dow Theory from NLO

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