Skip to main content

Numbers make the world go around

What do you do on the last business day of the year besides fidget?

I began in my usual fashion by checking the Kitco website to see what gold and silver were doing.

Gold was trading at $1,300.50 and silver at $16.93.

Both were up significantly from where they began 2017.

At that point, gold was up by 13 percent and silver was up by half that amount at 6.2 percent.

So far, so routine.

A check of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and I realized that the final figures for 2017 could be a festival of round numbers.

What if gold ends the trading day at $1,300 even?

What if silver stops at $17?

What if the Dow hits 25,000?

It would take massive coincidence to make it happen, but with markets trading this close, it seems almost reasonable to expect it.

At $1,300 gold would be up by another round number, $150 from the 2016 close of $1,150.

That first silver price check revealed that silver was up by 99.4 cents from the 2016 close of $15.936.

A gain of just a buck would be another round number – a sort of consolation prize.

For the Dow to close at 25,000, the market would have to rise by 162.49 points for a gain of about 0.65 percent.

Such a gain is entirely doable in the normal daily fluctuations of the market.

It could also drop by 0.65 percent today and nobody would think it particularly unusual.

The other major averages are a one-day fluctuation away from other round numbers.

Will the S+P close at an even 2,700?

That would be an easier gain of 0.42 percent.

Will NASDAQ close at 7,000?

It would take a gain of 0.72 percent.

That figure is bigger than the numbers for the Dow or S+P, but it is entirely plausible given the one-day gains it registered on other days 2017.

More than likely, none of these round numbers will be achieved when the record books close this afternoon, let alone five round numbers.

But they have been worth thinking about.

Coin collectors are fascinated by numbers. I am not alone in this.

Thinking about these various figures reminds me of the days when Bob Wilhite was the Coin Market editor.

He retired at the end of 1999.

He used to chair an annual competition in the office where participants had to forecast the closing prices for gold, silver and the Dow.

On a few occasions, I won by being the closest.

However, I never picked all three prices to be conveniently round numbers.

One thing is sure: if I were talking to Bob this morning, he would appreciate playing with these numbers as much as I have.

Happy New Year to all.

May you have a happy, prosperous and numismatically successful 2018.

Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."