Barron’s Headline: The Stock Market Isn’t Falling Like It Did In the 1970s—It’s Even Worse
By Ben LevisohnFollow
Updated April 29, 2022 8:06 pm ET / Original April 29, 2022 8:05 pm ET
It was the worst first four months of the year for the stock market since the 1970s! No, the 1930s! Can’t we just say it was a really bad start to the year?
“Bad” might not do it justice. After dropping 3.3% this past week, the S&P 500 index has fallen 13% during the first four months of the year, its worst start since 1939. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after falling 2.5% for the week, has slumped 9.2% in 2022, its worst start since 2020. Not to be outdone, the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.9% during the week, putting it down 17% for the first four months of the year. That’s its worst start to a year on record going back to 1971.
For a minute, it looked like it would just be the S&P 500’s worst first four months of the year since 1970. Nobody seems to remember the ’70s as the decade that birthed disco, rap, and punk rock, but only for inflation. It’s an easy comparison to make given the surge in consumer prices in the U.S. The Core PCE deflator, the Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation measure, rose 5.2% year over year in March, according to data released on Friday, while the first-quarter employment cost index rose 1.4% from the fourth quarter, the largest such increase since the data set began.By the end of trading on Friday, the selloff had gotten worse and we were staring at the worst start to a year since the Great Depression.