Remember the lost decade?
It was the decade from 2000 through 2009 in which major stock market indexes were virtually flat.
For a few really bad years, it looked like it was going to be the down decade. Flat was at least better than that.
Doing the numbers again, let's go back to 2000 and see what's up. Primarily because of the last two years, the indexes are agead, When you add in dividends, the figures are almost strong.
The Dow, from the end of 2000 to the end of 2010, gained 7.33 percent and posted a total return -- price increases plus dividends -- of 36.38 percent
The Standard and Poor's 500, down 4.74 percent, but a 15 pecent total return.
The Nasdaq, up 7.38 percent and a 15.25 percent total return.
How can you use these figures? You can use these numbers to fend off any claims of hyped stock market returns.
If anyone tells you that stocks produce an average return of .....and you name the figure..... you should understand that the average annual returns in recent years have been small. Very small.
For the Dow, the average annual return from 200-2010 was 3.15 percent. For the S&P 1.41 percent and the Nasdaq 1.43 percent.