Saturday, January 03, 2009
The right-most column below is about as close as you'll get to a 2008 version of this graphic from the Wall Street Journal and, interestingly, over the last week, everything was up. Over the last 52 weeks, the dollar comes out on top at +8.4 percent, but treasuries really should be added to this list as they about doubled that gain last year. That's one of the very big questions for 2009 - what will treasuries do?
Gold had a very good start last year but it declined yesterday, so its 2008 gain of about 6 percent shrunk to just a couple percent when looked at on a 52-week basis.
Similarly, broad equity markets had a horrible start last year but a fantastic day yesterday causing the 52-week loss to narrow sharply. For example, the Nasdaq was down 40.5 percent in 2008 but the 52-week change shrunk to -34.8 percent as shown above.
The one-day improvement for international stocks may have been even greater.
One of the best graphics in the Money and Investing section of the WSJ print edition is shown below from yesterday's paper which captures the final 2008 results.
The only country with a single-digit decline, Venezueala, has an official inflation rate of about 33 percent, so don't get too excited about investing with Hugo Chavez who now seems intent on taking over mining properties since the price of oil has plunged.
Remember that you need a 100 percent gain to recover from a 50 percent decline so, even if these stocks go up 20 percent this year, they'll still be down 40 percent from where they started 2008. If they go up 40 percent, they'll still be down 30 percent.
They really need to fix how these advance/decline percentages work!!