If the past few days of trading have you worried, here’s some perspective.
Yes, US stock prices have been volatile in the short term. But over the long term the S&P 500 index—an average of the market performance of the largest publicly traded US companies—has provided annualized returns of about 7% over inflation.
Here’s a look at how the market activity of the past few days—as measured through the S&P 500—compares to other periods. From the very best of the dot-com bubble to the very worst of the 2008 financial crisis, you can see the historical context for the market’s turbulence.
Choose a time period below to show to see how things compare.
Stock investors have been handsomely rewarded over the most recent months and years, even after taking losses on Feb. 5.
Also, despite the large drop in the level of the index on Feb. 5, as a percentage the drop was much smaller than the worst on record.
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