Perspective on the Stock Market

Yes, we are in a bear market, as I foresaw here and confirmed here. But let’s put the downturn in perspective:

Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index
(12,184.44, as of 4:46 p.m. ET today)

(c) BigCharts.com

Even with today’s significant drop (4.55 percent), the market is high by historical standards. (For example, the Wilshire 5000 Full-Cap Index, a broad measure of U.S. stock prices, is still higher than it was at any time before the “bubble” of the late 1990s, even after the index is adjusted for inflation.) Moreover, the decline from March 2000 to October 2002 — which somehow seems to be a distant memory for today’s headline writers — was far steeper and deeper than the slide that began last October. There may be a time to panic, but it hasn’t yet arrived.