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With Citigroup and Bank of America Leading The Way, The S&P 500 Is Having The Worst Ten Years Ever Recorded

By Mahyar Hashemi, Published: February 23rd, 2009 6:45 PM CST

Things are getting ugly in an unprecedented way.  Last month, The New York Times reported that the S&P 500 was having its worst decade yet as of the end of January 2009, with a 5.1% ten year drop after accounting for inflation and reinvested dividends.  That beat the previous record of 1974 when the S&P 500 dropped 4.7% in a ten year period.  A similar ten year drop was recorded in 1922.

Well, welcome to February 2009, which is shaping up to be worse.  Much worse.  In fact, it's shocking.  Given today's closing price, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down over 15% in a ten year period after accounting for inflation and reinvested dividends.  That doesn't just beat the record.  It decimates the record set in 1974.  It's a bloodbath in terms of history and it is simply unprecedented.

A ten year return chart is hardly the most commonly used chart.  But it does show that the volatility of our current market from the perspective of a century old year chart has never been more extreme.  The leaders of this massive change have been companies like Citigroup and Bank of America, who had a combined market capitilization of 455 billion at the end of 2007.  Today, they are fighting to survive at around a 30 billion dollar market cap.

The below chart is from and is similar to The New York Times chart, both compiled at the end of January.  Since the end of January (shown below), the market is comparatively down over another 10% in a ten year period.  You don't want to really see what that would look like.

Related: C, BAC

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