ETF Trends
ETF Trends

It’s a historical fact: there are the periodic stretches of market declines that affect stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) amid the years of steady upward climb.

Every so often, the ground made up in those climbs is lost, which is the case now. The S&P 500 is currently trading at the same level it was in April 1999, reports E.S. Browning for the Wall Street Journal.

Up until last fall, the tech bubble was viewed as a short-term setback. But over the past nine years, the S&P 500 has been the worst performing of nine different investment vehicles tracked by Morningstar.

The biggest question is how low can investor confidence go? Many analysts are foreseeing the global economy to stay on track. Finance professor Jeremy Siegel says that although the S&P has been inconsistent since its worst years in 2000 through 2002, the bad times are largely past.

There are other signs that things won’t be so bad this time around: for one, inflation is far below the double-digital rates seen in the 1970s.

Investors will likely remain nervous and pessimistic for awhile, though, but one analyst says there’s no reason to be as pessimistic as people were during the Great Depression.

Where do we go from here? Two problems need to be solved before the bull can storm the markets once again: stocks need to recover from the hangover of the high prices of the late 1990s and the continuing effects of the low interest rates instituted by the Federal Reserve in 2001 and again today. Those low rates bumped up corporate profits, but set off borrowing excesses.

Graphic courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.