21st Century Independence Days

July 4th, 2013

by Doug Short

On July 4, 1776, the American colonies declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Over the years Independence Day has become a symbol of America and its values.

The 21st century has presented some stunning challenges to the United States: The popping of the Tech Bubble, the attack on the Trade Towers, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the collapse of residential real estate, the Financial Crisis, the Oil Catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the outing of the One Percent, the Fiscal Cliff debacle -- the list goes on and on.

The latest S&P 500 closing price is 16.6% above the last Independence Day but only 9.9% above July 4th 2000. The market performance in the intervening years has been a roller coaster of dizzying effect.

The current economic and market concerns are substantial. We live in an unprecedented era when our Federal Reserve far exceeds the power of Congress or the White House to influence the direction of Wall Street. But the U.S. has a long record of dealing with difficulties and finding the light at the end of the tunnel.

Let's close on a note of hope with a look at a longer timeline covering the 34 Independence Days since 1980. The market will continue to have its ups and downs, but the direction we all hope for is easily illustrated.

Happy Fourth to all.

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