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Up 1.26% yesterday, down 1.74% today - looks like volatility is back. The S&P 500 now up a mere 0.62% year-to-date but down 7.20% from the interim high of April 29. From a longer perspective, the index is 87.0% above the March 2009 closing low and 19.2% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007. Below are two charts of the index - with and without the 50 and 200-day moving averages.

Click to enlarge charts

For a better sense of how these declines figure into a larger historical context, here's a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets in the S&P Composite since 1871.

For a bit of international flavor, here's a chart series that includes an overlay of the S&P 500, the Dow Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the so-called L-shaped "recovery" of the Nikkei 225. I update these weekly.

These charts are not intended as a forecast but rather as a way to study the current market in relation to historic market cycles.

Source: Watching the S&P 500: Volatility Is Back