Failed Decade for US Stock Market Investors

The first ten years of the new millennium provided for a decade of “zeros” indeed… a “decade that began with such promise” ended up in abject failure for those heavily invested in the stock markets of the developed world.

According to the New York Times:

“…it became a decade that richly earned the name “the zeros.” For the entire developed world, that was just about the decade’s total return.

“The United States stock market lagged even that modest return. According to the MSCI indexes, which measure virtually all stock markets using consistent criteria, an investor in the American market who reinvested all dividends — and who somehow avoided all taxes and transaction costs for the decade — would have ended 2009 with 12 percent fewer dollars than when the decade began. That is an annual return of negative 1.3 percent.

“Even that calculation understates the sad news for stock investors. Because of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, a 2009 dollar is worth about 78 cents in 1999 dollars.”

Many more details on how markets of the developed world fared, especially in contrast to the developing world, are available in New York Times coverage of the decade of zeros.