What Have You Done For Me Lately?

The S&P 500 has gone 108 days without closing at an all-time high. This is the second longest drought since the index first made new highs in March, 2013.

The chart below shows the days without an all-time closing high (red), the S&P 500 return (black), and new all-time closing highs (green).

On March 28, 2013, the day the S&P 500 finally made an all-time high, The Wall Street Journal described the debate that dominated financial markets:

“On one side, Italy’s difficulty in forming a new government stoked fears that Europe still hasn’t dealt with its financial problems, despite the reopening of Cyprus’s banks. In addition, new U.S. weekly unemployment claims surprised economists by ticking higher while another report showed soft manufacturing activity in the Midwest.”

The article also included some serious bear porn.

“Ordinary investors began pushing money back into U.S. stock mutual funds in January and February. Many had sold during the crisis and some appeared to regain confidence as indexes neared records, meaning some had sold low and bought high.”

Aside from the anecdote that “ordinary investors” were returning, which always gets more attention than it deserves, there were plenty of legitimate reasons to be skeptical that the rally would continue. The S&P 500 had compounded at 25.6% for the previous four years, and with a CAPE ratio of 23, they were no longer a bargain. On top of that, the economy wasn’t doing great. Jobless claims were 357k, unemployment was 7.5%,  and the most recent GDP report showed an annual increase of just 0.4%. And of course, one can’t forget that all of the gains in the market was due to quantitative easing, which many feared was blowing another bubble into assets.

It was perfectly reasonable to suspect that stocks had run too far too fast, or that the money, easy or otherwise had already been made.

But in the five plus years since March 2013 the index (TR) has compounded at 13.2% per year. Remember, this is after gaining 26% per year over the previous four years (148% total). So it’s really okay if we go another 100 or 200 or even 300 days without a new high.

Stocks fall into the what have you done for me lately category, but if you define lately as in last few years instead of last few weeks or months, they’ve done plenty.

This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

The Compound Media, Inc., an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here: https://www.ritholtzwealth.com/advertising-disclaimers

Please see disclosures here.