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After slumping for the first 30 minutes of trading, the S&P 500 drifted higher throughout the day yesterday on hopes for a sound bail-out of Europe. At 3 PM sharp, rumors of a €2 Trillion agreement sent the market to a brief intraday high, up 2.68%, before settling to its close at a trimmed gain of 2.04%.

Year-to-date the index is in the red at -2.57% and 10.14% below the interim high of April 29.

From an intermediate perspective, the index is 81.1% above the March 2009 closing low and 21.7% 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.

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: The Tuesday 2%