The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Since Their 2000 Highs

September 2, 2014

by Doug Short

Here is a update in response to a standing request from a couple of sources that I also share with regular visitors to my Advisor Perspectives pages.

The request is for real (inflation-adjusted) charts of the S&P 500, Dow 30, and Nasdaq Composite. In response, I maintain two overlays — one with the nominal price, excluding dividends, and the other with the price adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (which is usually just refer to as the CPI). The charts below have been updated through the August 29th close.

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The charts require little explanation. So far the 21st Century has not been especially kind to equity investors. Yes, markets usually do bounce back, but often in time frames that defy optimistic expectations.

The charts above are based on price only. But what about dividends? Would the inclusion of dividends make a significant difference? I'll close this post with a reprint of my latest chart update of the S&P 500 total return on a $1,000 investment at the 2000 high.

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Total return, including reinvested dividends, certainly looks better, but the real (inflation-adjusted) purchasing power of that $1,000 is currently, over 14 years later, only 235 dollars above break-even. That equates to a 1.47% annualized real return.

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