S&P 500® Index Historical Trends

History shows that the market typically moves in cycles. In the past 65 years, there have been six bull markets and six bear markets. Investment strategies that work in bull markets may not be effective in fat or bear markets.

Over the last 65 years, the stock market has rewarded some investors with long-term growth. But for most investors, a realistic time horizon is 10 to 20 years—not more than a half-century.

Download S&P 500 Historical Trends PDF.

Source: Graph created by Guggenheim Investments using data from FactSet. Cumulative returns are calculated by Guggenheim Investments. Logarithmic graph of the S&P 500® Index from 3.4.1957 through 12.31.2023. Bull and bear markets illustrated are long-term secular periods, and do not necessarily indicate all bull or bear market periods, which may differ based on methodology utilized. For this analysis, we considered the end of a bull market when the index drops below its peak and stays there for a significant period of time.

1 S&P 500® Index inception date is 3.4.1957.Performance displayed represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. For more information call 800 345 7999 or visit GuggenheimInvestments.com.

The S&P 500® Index is a registered trademark of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”). Guggenheim Investments is not sponsored, endorsed, sold, or promoted by SPDJI, S&P, and their respective affiliates do not sponsor, endorse, sell, or promote investment products based on the S&P 500® Index, and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such products nor do they have any liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of the S&P 500® Index.

History shows that the equity market enters long periods of high returns, followed by shorter periods of lower ones. These periods are called secular trends. There are two kinds of secular trends:

Secular Bull Market

A secular bull market, or upward-trending market, occurs when each successive high point is higher than the previous one.

Start End Months Years Annualized Return Cumulative Return Annualized Std. Dev.4
10.22.1957 11.29.1968 133 11.1 9.7% 178.0% 10.2%
5.26.1970 1.11.1973 31 2.6 23.8% 73.5% 11.5%
10.3.1974 11.28.1980 73 6.1 14.3% 125.4% 13.8%
8.12.1982 3.23.2000 211 17.6 16.6% 1,391.3% 16.2%
10.9.2002 10.9.2007 60 5.0 15.0% 101.5% 13.8%
3.9.2009 2.12.2020 131 10.9 15.9% 399.5% 15.9%
3.23.2020 1.3.2022 21 1.8 54.6% 114.4% 20.3%
10.12.2022 12.29.2023 14 1.2 28.0% 33.3% 15.9%

Secular Bear Market

A secular bear market, or downward-trending market, occurs when a trend does not rise above the previous high.

Start End Months Years Annualized Return Cumulative Return Annualized Std. Dev.4
11.29.1968 5.26.1970 17 1.4 -27.1% -36.1% 11.6%
1.11.1973 10.3.1974 20 1.7 -32.6% -48.2% 18.2%
11.20.1980 8.12.1982 20 1.7 -17.2% -27.1% 14.0%
3.23.2000 10.9.2002 30 2.5 -23.7% -49.1% 23.3%
10.9.2007 3.9.2009 17 1.4 -44.7% -56.8% 38.5%
2.12.2020 3.23.2020 1 0.1 NA -33.8 73.9%
1.3.2022 10.12.2022 9 0.8 NA -25.4 24.4%

Some strategies to consider during various secular cycles include:

Secular Bull Market
  • Relative Returns1
  • Wealth Accumulation
  • Correlating Assets2
  • Buy and Hold
Secular Bear Market
  • Real Returns1
  • Wealth Preservation
  • Noncorrelating Assets2
  • Dynamic/Alternative Approach3

Having a thorough understanding of these trends and the current market environment may help you better prepare for upcoming
financial goals. Contact your financial advisor to discuss this concept further.

1 Real returns are what you actually make. Hypothetically, if your portfolio returned 12% last year, this should be your real return. Relative returns are returns compared to a benchmark. For example, if an index made 28% last year, compared to your portfolio which made 12%, your portfolio underperformed relative to the benchmark S&P 500®.
2 Correlation is a statistical measure of how two variables move in relation to each other. This measure ranges from -1 to +1 where -1 indicates perfect negative correlation and +1 indicates perfect positive correlation.
3 A dynamic/alternative approach is one that incorporates specialized investments in conjunction with a core strategy to potentially take advantage of changing market conditions. Specialized investment strategies may help you achieve greater diversification, lower volatility, and potentially better returns. There are various risks associated with these types of investments, so you should educate yourself thoroughly with the help of your advisor to gain a better understanding.
4 Standard deviation is a statistical measure of the historical volatility of an investment, usually computed using the most recent 36-monthly returns and then annualized. More generally, it is a measure of the extent to which numbers are spread around their average. The higher the number, the more volatility is to be expected.

Source: Calculated by Guggenheim Investments using data from FactSet. Performance displayed represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. This information is for illustrative purpose only and should not be construed as a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. Index performance is for illustration purposes only and is not meant to represent any particular fund. Returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction costs or expenses. The index is unmanaged and not available for direct investment. The Standard and Poor’s 500® Index (S&P 500®) is a broad-based index, the performance of which is based on the performance of 500 widely held common stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry group representation. Returns do not reflect dividends, management fees, transaction costs, or expenses. There is no guarantee that prior markets will be duplicated.

Securities are not deposits or obligations of any bank, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested.

Guggenheim Investments represents the investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC (“Guggenheim”). Securities offered through Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC. Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC. is affiliated with Guggenheim Partners, LLC. VAL-SPTRENDS-0224x 1224 #60362

Read a prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) carefully before investing. It contains the investment objective, risks charges, expenses and the other information, which should be considered carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) click here or call 800.820.0888.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Corporate Funding, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited, Guggenheim Partners Japan Limited, and GS GAMMA Advisors.

© Guggenheim Investments. All rights reserved.

Research our firm with FINRA Broker Check.

• Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value

This website is directed to and intended for use by citizens or residents of the United States of America only. The material provided on this website is not intended as a recommendation or as investment advice of any kind, including in connection with rollovers, transfers, and distributions. Such material is not provided in a fiduciary capacity, may not be relied upon for or in connection with the making of investment decisions, and does not constitute a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities. All content has been provided for informational or educational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and/or a legal opinion. Always consult a financial, tax and/or legal professional regarding your specific situation. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.