Calculations performed for Sunday Business by Morningstar, using data from its Ibbotson Associates subsidiary, show that the stock market underperformed important bond categories over the 10 years through September — with an annualized loss of 0.2 per cent for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, versus annualized gains of 8.1 per cent for long-term government bonds and of 7.8 per cent for long-term corporate bonds.
What’s more, the S.& P. 500 underperformed long-term government and long-term corporate bonds over the last 20 years as well. Over longer periods — 30 years, 40 years, and in an 83-year stretch from 1926 to 2009 — the Ibbotson numbers indicate that stocks did outperform bonds, sometimes by more than three percentage points, annualized. But bonds were far less volatile throughout. And the further back in history you go, the less directly comparable is the data.
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(Prof. Siegel’s also quoted in the article observing that the crappy performance of stocks for the past 15 years is actually good news for the next 15. He’s probably right about that, at least from the low valuations earlier this year. — HB)