LONDON -- The FTSE 100 index breached 6,000 for the first time since 2011 this week after American politicians agreed upon a last-minute deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
While this week's upward move was welcomed by many investors, it also put into perspective the index's performance during the last decade or so. You see, the FTSE 100 index first closed above 6,000 on April 1, 1998 -- almost 15 years ago.
A brief history
In a minute, I'll tell you about a free guide that could help your blue-chip portfolio prosper regardless of whether the FTSE 100 stays above 6,000. But first, let me recount some stats that you might not know about the FTSE 100 during those near-15 years.
I'll begin by revealing that the index has spent more time below 6,000 than it has spent above 6,000. This table outlines the disappointing numbers:
FTSE 100 level
6,000 or more
Between 5,000 and 6,000
Between 4,000 and 5,000
Less than 4,000
Source: Yahoo U.K. Finance.
Sadly, just 26% of the 3,725 trading days since April 1998 have seen the FTSE close at 6,000 or higher. What's worse, that 26% is outweighed by the 27% of trading days that have seen the blue-chip index trade below 5,000.
During the rest of the time -- some 48% -- the index has bounced between 5,000 and 6,000.
The bull-run years
My second table confirms how days when the FTSE trades above 6,000 have been concentrated in the bull-run years of 1999, 2000, 2006, and 2007.
Trading Days With FTSE 100 at 6,000 or More
Source: Yahoo U.K. Finance.
Although we're less than a week into 2013, this year has already scored two days with the FTSE above 6,000 -- which is two more days than 2012! (Other years that scored zero days since 1998 are 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009.)
While two consecutive days above 6,000 is at least something -- especially as the index last breached 6,000 during July 2011 -- the FTSE still has a way to go to match its past consistency. Indeed, the last good run of consecutive trading days at 6,000 points or more occurred two years ago, when 11 straight days were achieved during February 2011.
However, the all-time record occurred during both 2000 and 2007, when the index kept above 6,000 for almost an entire year. A repeat of that consistency would be most welcome, I'm sure you'd agree!
Opportunities for FTSE 6,000
Of course, individual shares can go up or down regardless of what the FTSE 100 does. The last 15 or so years have provided wonderful multibaggers and investment disasters in equal measure, so you still have to work hard to pick your stock market winners.
But I can offer you some help through that free guide I mentioned earlier. The guide itself reviews the major holdings of Neil Woodford, the ace large-cap investor who has beaten the market by 200%-plus during the 15 years to October 2012. Whether the FTSE 100 is raging above 6,000 or plunging below 4,000, Woodford's record shows he has a regular knack of identifying blue-chip winners. You can swot up on Woodford's 2013 share positions for free by clicking here.
Good luck, and happy investing!
The article What You Might Not Know About the FTSE 100 at 6,000 originally appeared on Fool.com.
Maynard does not own any share mentioned in the article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.