To start our new year and new decade let's take a look at where financial markets have been over the last 10 years:
2000: the top news story was the US presidential election which ended in a photo finish and was decided by the Supreme Court. The Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 ended with a loss of 9% for the year.
2001: September 11th overshadowed everything. S&P ended down 12% in a year that saw the NYSE close for a week after the attacks.
2002: Enron and WorldCom went bankrupt. War in Afghanistan. The S&P closed down 22%.
2003: War in Iraq. S&P headed back up nearly 29% for the year.
2004: Another presidential election; S&P up 5%.
2005: Hurricane Katrina was the big story; S&P was up 5% .
2006: A difficult year in Iraq despite the capture of Saddam Hussein. S&P up 16%.
2007: Sub-prime mortgage companies start failing - the first dominoes to fall. S&P managed a 5% gain.
2008: Obama elected President; turmoil in financial markets. S&P off 37%, biggest loss in decades.
2009: Financial turmoil continued, GM & Chrysler bankrupt, an early plunge for the market saw us down 30% by March. A stunning reversal in investor confidence gave a full year close up 23%, a huge gain from the panic of the first quarter.
We start our new year with cautious optimism for a recovery in our economy and in financial markets. The fact that there is still considerable skepticism among investors is a good sign: when everyone's an optimist it's time to go slow. Happy New Year.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).