Long, long ago, on the final day of 2019, I posted about the U.S. stock market, noting that the previous decade had been a fabulous time to invest in U.S. stocks. At that point I felt pleased to have joined the ranks of investors at such an auspicious time. I recall a sense of anticipation at what the next decade would bring.
Little did I imagine.
First, there was this little thing called the Pandemic. Remember that? Remember when we didn’t know what was going on, when uncertainty ruled the day and “sheltered at home” was suddenly on everybody’s itinerary? As for the stock market, it suffered a dramatic shock that spring but quickly recovered due to government stimuli. The economy was not so quick to stabilize, yet Pandemic life marched on. A bunch of people bet on so-called “meme” stocks. Technology stocks and crypto burgeoned. So did inflation. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates quickly to stem it, which helped cause the bear market of 2022. Stocks and bonds both plummeted.
If 2022 was a year of transition, 2023 was the first year that felt like it was post-Pandemic. At least, that’s how it felt to me. In the market, stocks picked up, and so did bonds to some degree. We ended 2023 approaching new highs.
Looking back on the final day of 2019, the S&P was at a then all-time high of 3,221.29. Fast forward to today, when it dipped 0.8% to close at 4,704.81. For anyone counting, that’s a 46% increase since the end of 2019 (!).
Even with ALL THE DRAMA of the past four years.
I could probably drop the mic right there and my point would be made. But I will go one step further. I mentioned in my 2019 post that I started investing almost five years before that, in April 2015. I noted that the S&P was 2,050 back then. Today’s close of 4,704.81 represents a 130% growth from that point (The graph at the top of this post shows this. Source: Macrotrends).
Again: not a bad return. And with all we’ve been through!