The United States stock market has just completed its best six months since 1933. From March 9 to Sept. 9, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index leaped by 53 percent.But the gain over that period, which began when stocks reached their nadir in March, was not enough to offset the losses recorded in the previous six months. Not since 1932 had the market suffered a half-year period as bad as that one.If history is a guide, the strong recovery may be an indication that better prices are still ahead. Since World War II, there have been eight periods before the current market when the S.& P. 500 managed to rise at least 30 percent over a half-year period — in 1963, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1982-83, 1991, 1997 and 1999. A year later, the index had made further gains in seven of them.The exception was 1980, when the economy went into a double-dip recession and dashed the hopes of investors who had bet on a continued rise in stock prices.
By Floyd Norris, Sept. 12, 2009 NYT

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