The Four Totally Bad Bear Recoveries: Where Is Today's Market?

In response to a standing request, here is an updated comparison of four major secular bear markets. The numbers are through Monday, December 31 close.

This chart series features an overlay of the Four Bad Bears in U.S. history since the equity market peak in 1929. They are:

  1. The Crash of 1929, which eventually ushered in the Great Depression,
  2. The Oil Embargo of 1973, which was followed by a vicious bout of stagflation,
  3. The Tech Bubble crash and,
  4. The Financial Crisis following the record high in October 2007.

The series includes four versions of the overlay: nominal, real (inflation-adjusted), total return with dividends reinvested and real total return. The starting point is the aligned peaks prior to the four epic declines. We've used an interval of 252 days for the x-axis as it is roughly the number of market days in a calendar year.

The first chart shows the price, excluding dividends for these four historic declines and their aftermath. As of the year-end close, we are now 2,826 market days from the 2007 peak in the S&P 500.

Four Bears

Inflation-Adjusted Performance

When we adjust for inflation, the gap between our current recovery and the other three widens, thanks to exceptionally low inflation in recent years.

Four Real Bears

Nominal Total Returns

Now let's look at a total return comparison with dividends reinvested. The 1973 Oil Embargo Bear recovery is the top performer, up 148.0%. The current recovery is in second place, up 101.3%.

Four Bears Total Return

Real Total Returns

When we adjust the total returns for inflation, the picture significantly changes. The spread between three of the four markets narrows dramatically, and the current real total return since the 2007 crisis has pulled far ahead of the others, up 67.4%. Second place, by this metric, goes to the post-Oil Embargo rally, with 7.4%.

Four Bears Real Total Return

Here is a table showing the relative performance of these four cycles at the equivalent point in time.

Four Bear Table

For a better sense of how these cycles figure into a larger historical context, here's a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets, adjusted for inflation, in the S&P Composite since 1871.

1 2
View single page >> |
How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience. Users' ratings are only visible to themselves.

Comments

Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.