It’s hard to believe that it has been that long. But the S&P 500, which closed at 2017 last Friday, hit an intraday low of 666.79 on March 6, 2009.
That was the market bottom.
As you may recall, world markets made a final severe downward lurch when Republicans in Congress blocked passage of a bank bailout bill–apparently condemning the country to a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s. My sense is that even the grandstanding congressmen who cast the “no” votes were as horrified by the result as were the financial markets and constituents. The rapid subsequent passage of the bailout marked the lows.
What I find most notable about the years since:
–the S&P has tripled, yet only appears to me to be appropriately valued
–the US economy is just getting close to normal now; Europe, whose banks were the ultimate “dumb money” holders of fraudulent mortgage securities created by their US counterparts, is still struggling
–the entire economic repair has been accomplished by the Fed, a feat that mainstream economic theory would have said to be impossible. Other than the initial bank and auto company bailout, there has been no net help from either Congress or the administration.
–Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest group of consumers in the US (not the wealthiest, but the largest). This despite the role of the recession in delaying Boomer retirements
–according to the Economist the first month’s sales of the iPhone 6 last year represented 25x all the computer power that existed in the world in 1990. For me, this one sentence explains the continuing disruptive power of the Internet. It also highlights the role of the smartphone in causing the demise of the big, bureaucratic, cog-in-the-wheel, job-for-life corporation that arose after World War II
–despite the congressional call in 2009 for banks to bear full responsibility for the mortgage abuses they created, almost no bank executives have been brought to trial for the immense economic damage they did. Yes, there’s Bernie Madoff and the occasional inside trader. But these are outsiders, sort of like Michael Milken or Henry Blodget, not members of the financial establishment.