Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Look Back At History

As of this week, the S&P 500 has doubled from its March 2009 low, the infamous 666.
The Wall Street Journal was quick to note that it took place in just 707 days -- the fastest doubling of the S&P since 1936. Back then, it was a mere 501 days.

The Dow has a few hundred more points to go before it reaches the same milestone… but it’s climbed in less than two years from a low of 6,547 to 12,318 today:

That, indeed, looks similar to a chart of the Dow from September 1934-October 1936. In just over two years, the Dow doubled from 87 to 174:

What the Journal failed to note was what happened after that 100% climb in 1936. Let’s widen the scope a bit.

Ugh… After reaching that double in October 1936, the Dow topped out in March 1937… pulled back… came within about 5% of that top again in August 1937… and then plunged by March 1938 back to where it was three years before.

This was the infamous “Depression within the Depression.” As went the stock market, so went the economy. Whatever gains had been goosed by New Deal spending evaporated.

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