The 4 Bad Bears in U.S. Economic History
This chart series features an overlay of the Four Bad Bears in U.S. history since the market peak in 1929. They are:
- The Crash of 1929, which eventually ushered in the Great Depression;
- The Oil Embargo of 1973, which was followed by a vicious bout of stagflation;
- The 2000 Tech Bubble bust; and
- The Financial Crisis following the nominal all-time high in 2007.
The series includes four versions of the overlay: nominal, real (inflation-adjusted), total-return with dividends reinvested, and real total-return.
The first chart shows the price excluding dividends for these four historic declines and their aftermaths. As of Wednesday’s close, there are now 1,511 market days from the 2007 peak in the S&P 500. In nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation) over the same elapsed time, the Financial Crisis (current market) is our top performer, now at 5.8 percent above that peak but off its all-time high of September 18. The 1973 Oil Embargo is in second at -0.2 percent. The post-Tech Bubble is in third place at -14.9 percent. The crash of 1929 fared far worse at -63.2 percent.