Volatility Across The Decades: It's No Wonder We're Edgy

Jun. 8.12 | About: SPDR S&P (SPY)

If you think the current generation is a bit more on edge about the stock market than the last, there's good reason.

In the past decade, we endured Enron and the Internet Bust and survived September 2001. The financial collapse brought us as close to Dust Bowl 2.0 as anyone could imagine. And, let's not forget Europe has caused its share of see-saw returns these last two years.

But, just how volatile is the market?

I crunched the numbers on daily S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) returns to determine whether our generation's angst is unique, or simply rhymes with days past.

As you can see in the following chart, volatility in daily returns has been rising since the 1970s.

Only the booming 1990s saw the upward trend in market swings take a breather. Even so, they were still more volatile than the '50s, 60s and 70s.

That's quite an accomplishment given those periods were chock-full of turmoil driven market risk.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.