Updating SP 500 Annual Returns / Nasdaq Composite Still Testing the November ’21 All-Time-High

It gets almost no press, but with a lot of the mega-cap tech, consumer discretionary and communication services stocks still not trading at all-time-highs, it’s interesting to note that just today with the good market action, the Nasdaq closed back above, the late November ’21 all-time-high of 16,212, closing at 16,349.

This spreadsheet is updated monthly: tracking the quarterly returns, look at how the 2022 correction took much of the steam off the equity market froth that we saw at the end of 2021.

What’s interesting to me is that the 24-year “annual” return for the SP 500 is still just a touch above 7%.

From 1970 through 2023, the arithmetic average of the SP 500 in terms of annual return is 12.15%.

Let’s look at the major tech stocks, relative to all-time-highs:

  • Amazon: still needs ot trade above $190, on volume to take out the $188 – $189 highs in July ’21. Amazon is getting very close to a breakout.
  • Microsoft: Took out the 2021 highs of $343 – $349 in early November ’23. Traded up as high as $431 this year and is still fighting to get back there. ’24 capex guide might have taken some steam out of the stock.
  • Google: All-time-highs after the April ’24 earnings. Good sign, but the stock tends to generate big moves up or down around earnings.
  • JPMorgan: still hasn’t taken out it’s $200 – $201 all-time-highs since earnings. Stock really trades richly for a bank, but it’s the best of the big banks operationally, and as long as Jamie Dimon is around, it will likely trade at a premium.
  • Nvidia: don’t own it individually, long it through the SMH, where clients own Micron as well and some of the others. $967 is the Nvidia all-time-high, and it’s trading back up to that level with Friday and today’s action. NVDA reports May 22nd, ’24 after the closing bell.

Summary / conclusion: The 7% annual return for the SP 500 since January 1, 2000, is actually a little bullish. The 50-year average return for the SP 500 since 1970 is 12.5%.

With all the press chatter about “tech” and “growth” etc., the Nasdaq Composite still hasn’t traded solidly above it’s late November ’21, all-time-high of 16,212. That’s a pretty long base. The next mega-cap stock to move to an all-time-high looks like Amazon. It’s only a few bucks away. Microsoft is going to require more time.

None of this is advice or a recommendation. Opinions are just that. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing can does involve the loss of principal, even for short time periods. Annual returns are sourced from Morningstar, formerly Ibbotson before they were bought by Morningstar, and from Y-Charts.

Thought readers would enjoy the longer-term look at returns.


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