Six Worst Bear Markets Since 1871 on the S&P 500
Bear markets, defined as a period where the market goes down 20% or more — from peak to trough, happen frequently — in the last 108 years — from 1900 – 2008 — it has happened 32 times, or about 1 out of every 3 years. The average length of a bear market is 367 days.
In the last 75 years (i.e., 1934-2008), as measured by calendar year, the S&P 500 stock index has suffered total return losses of at least 20% in four different years, the most recent was 2008’s 37.0% decline. In the year after the three previous 20%+ tumbles, the index gained an average of +32%.
Here are the 6 worst bear markets of all time for the S&P 500 since January 1871, which is as far back as our data for the S&P 500 stock market index goes.
|The S&P 500’s Six Worst Bear Markets Since 1871|
|Rank||Peak Date||Trough Date||Peak||Trough||Drop|
|1||September 1929||June 1932||31.3||4.77||-84.8%|
|2||October 2007||March 2009||1565.15||676.53||-56.8%|
|3||August 2000||February 2003||1485.46||837.03||-43.7%|
|4||April 1973||December 1974||118.4||67.07||-43.4%|
|5||August 1937||April 1938||16.74||9.89||-40.9%|
|6||February 1876||June 1877||4.52||2.73||-39.6%|