A Quick Look at the Stock Market

The Wall Street Journal is breathless yet again because the Dow has crossed another threshold with three zeroes in it:

Just 30 days! Of course, that’s how things go with an exponential series: the time between fixed intervals gets smaller and smaller. For your viewing pleasure, then, here’s a less dramatic take on the stock market over the past seven years:

There you have it. This is not the Dow, it’s the S&P 500—which is a better measure—but they’re pretty much the same. The market has been growing at a fairly steady 11 percent per year ever since the Great Recession ended. There’s really nothing very special going on right now. In case you’re interested, here’s the P/E ratio since 2004:

It’s starting to look a little pricey. The last two recessions began when the P/E ratio was at 26.1 (March 2001) and 22.4 (December 2007). It’s currently at 25.5


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