A number of newspapers noted that the major stock market indices closed at their lowest levels since 2004. What I think is more remarkable is what this means for 10-year trailing returns. As of yesterday's close, the S&P 500 increased by a paltry 6.25% over the last 10 years -- roughly a .45% return per year. (The Russell 2000 index did better, reflecting small cap stocks' outperformance of large caps over the last 10 years.) And what's really striking is that October of 1998 was a trough in the market, and the S&P 500 rose 50% in the following two years (before, of course, precipitously falling). The bottom line is that, over a 10-year period, you would have been better off investing your money in just about anything other than the stocks of major U.S. corporations.
The Stock Market's 10-Year Return: