The Worst Decade for Stock Investors

According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal, the 2000s are on track for a dismal record: the worst performance of U.S. stocks in any decade on record.

According to data from the Yale International Center for Finance, stocks have fallen about 0.5% per year, on average, during the current decade. Unless stocks stage a healthy rally in the next two weeks, the 00s will thus come in behind each of the past 17 decades, including the -0.2% average annual return of the 1930s.

As the article notes, this comparison is partly driven by a “quirk of the calendar, based on when the 10-year period starts and finishes.” For example, stocks fell more in the ten-year period ending in 1938 than they did in the 00s. For a nice year-by-year display, see the WSJ’s graphics (which include the chart below).

Let’s hope the 2010s do better.

About Donald Marron 294 Articles

Donald Marron is an economist in the Washington, DC area. He currently speaks, writes, and consults about economic, budget, and financial issues.

From 2002 to early 2009, he served in various senior positions in the White House and Congress including: * Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) * Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) * Executive Director of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC)

Before his government service, Donald had a varied career as a professor, consultant, and entrepreneur. In the mid-1990s, he taught economics and finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He then spent about a year-and-a-half managing large antitrust cases (e.g., Pepsi vs. Coke) at Charles River Associates in Washington, DC. After that, he took the plunge into the world of new ventures, serving as Chief Financial Officer of a health care software start-up in Austin, TX. After that fascinating experience, he started his career in public service.

Donald received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.A. in Mathematics a couple miles down the road at Harvard.

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2 Comments on The Worst Decade for Stock Investors

  1. I wonder if this will be a game changer for a generation of investors. Those that read the theory that more or less says that in any 10 year period stocks always go up and the reality of the last 10 years. And will stock returns be flat because new investors don’t materialize?

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