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One good thing about 2008 is the year has come to an end. It is unlikely the market's performance in 2009 will generate the same outcome as 2008, but not a certainty.

The -33.8% return in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 2008 is the third worst on record. As noted by Chart of the Day:

[the below chart] illustrates the 15 worst calendar year performances of the Dow since its inception in 1896...Only 1931 and 1907 endured greater declines. It is of interest that major banking crises occurred in 1931, 1907, 2008, and 1930 – the four worst calendar years on record in terms of stock market performance.

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Dow Index 15 worst calendar year performances since 1896Source: Chart of the Day

Source: 2008 Dow Jones Performance: Third Worst on Record