The S&P 500's Lost Decade

Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Doug Short

Here is a new update of a chart that illustrates the total return performance of the S&P 500 since the Tech Bubble closing high on March 24, 2000. The chart shows the value of $1000 invested in the index, including dividends, but excluding any taxes or fees, as of May 20th. I've also included the real value using the Consumer Price Index for the inflation adjustment.

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I calculated on the returns based on the daily price and daily dividends interpolated from the quarterly dividends as reported by Standard & Poor's. Thus the $1,070 nominal and $809 real values are the hypothetical returns excluding any taxes or fees.

For the sake of comparison and to validate the calculation method, we can compare the nominal return in the chart above to Vanguard's 500 Index Investor Fund (MUTF:VFINX), which has had a return of $1,057. Over the same timeframe The SPY ETF has returned $1,044.

We're now over eleven years beyond the S&P 500 2000 high. This little charting exercise gives credence to the frequent reference to a "lost decade" for investors. It also offers support for the wisdom of diversification across asset classes.