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.

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