9 Worst Years in Stock Market History

stock crash
Photo by Everett Collection from Shutterstock


This year marked the first full year of the Great Depression. As the stock market completely crashed in October 1929, a golden period of prosperity, which was also known as the Roaring Twenties, dramatically ended.

Of course, life had to go on, but it drastically changed. By November 1929, things were SO bad, stocks had lost no less than half their value. They would decline even more in 1930, and it was only the start of what would become the worst-ever bear market.


If you’ll ever ask investors what was the most horrific periods in stock market history, you’ll hear the 1930s, 1973, and the freefall of 2008. Even so, today’s market watchers seem to have forgotten about 2000-2002, when stocks were falling for three consecutive years. That was a first since 1939-1941.


The fast market decline that occurred in 2001, which has remained as the year of the terror attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York City, was the second one in a 3 year period that watched investors give back a huge amount of the record runup in stock prices they collected during the 1990s.

As 2001 ended, optimists were hoping that after two years of declines, better days were coming. However, the worst part had yet to come.


At first, things seemed to be going just fine in 1940, as stocks were rallying strongly. However, storm clouds soon appeared, and this time, from Europe. By April, Germany occupied both Norway and Denmark, and the crisis soon became known as World War II. The U.S. stock market started to fall almost immediately, and it kept on doing so the next year, too.


Finally, we arrive at the present. Unfortunately, the present is also mentioned on the list, even if the year is not over yet. However, if we look at the end of trading on December 16, the S&P 500 is down no less than 19.17% year to date.

This basically means that we can safely assume that 2022 earned its spot as the seventh-worst year for stock market returns in contemporary times, after 2002.

If you enjoyed reading this piece, you might also want to try: 8 Things Biden Achieved This Year for You (and Fails)

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