US equities: returns over the last 194 years

Here’s an infographic that puts the ups and downs of the stock market in context. It tracks the performance of the US stock market from 1825 to 2018*. Today this includes companies such as Apple and Microsoft.

The US stock market has delivered a positive annual return in 138 of the last 194 years (71% of the time) and a negative annual return in 56 years (29% of the time). The average annual return of the S&P 500 since its inception is approximately 10%.

*Note that different sources of information (and index data collection methodologies) were used depending on the time period. The S&P 500 index was used from 1957 onwards and its predecessor S&P index from the period from 1923 to 1957. The data prior to that was computed by William Goetzmann, Roger Ibbotson et al. Source: “A new historical database for the NYSE 1815 to 1925: Performance and Predictability”, Journal of Financial Markets, Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2001, Page 1-32.