Click to enlarge


I do not ever recall seeing all these in one place in one chart: S&P 500, DJIA, Gold, Silver, West Texas Intermediate, Total Debt as a % of GDP and the US 10yr to 1850.

Many of these are at or close to all time highs. (Note the exception is the US 10yr Yield, which trade at an inverse to the bond).

We rarely look at them all together. In doing so, it’s amazing that for as much problems that we appear to have politically, economically and socially, the markets appear unfazed in any way. Resilient.


UPDATE: June 13 2013, 3:49pm

Adjusted for Inflation you say? Done:

Click to enlarge


Ralph M Dillon
Global Financial Data, June 12, 2013

Category: Cycles, Data Analysis, Technical Analysis

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

17 Responses to “Major Asset Classes: 1850 – Present”

  1. MayorQuimby says:

    Seems like it felt similarly in 1928!

  2. Lugnut says:

    Cool chart. I look at it and my immediate thought is that it nicely tracks and correlates the devaluation of a currency.

  3. martin66 says:

    Concur with above. A long-term chart like this in nominal terms is essentially meaningless as regards asset price returns and speaks more to the steady decline in the value of the base currency. (And no, I am not a hard currency adherent). All prices have changed by some increment due to inflation over this timeframe. Looking at nominal values only leads to being wholly misled by “money illusion.”

  4. Dick Watson says:

    Agree with Martin. Without CPI adjustment, the chart does not inform much. That is why “Many of these are at or close to all-time highs.”

  5. george lomost says:

    So the stock market crash of 1929 caused greater ripples than the slaughters of the Civil War, WWI, flu pandemic of 1918, WWII. Stalin was wrong: even the deaths of millions don’t merit a statistic. Does this go into the folder named OMG or the one named WFT?

  6. Marc P says:

    Interesting attempt but I too agree with Martin. I’d add:

    A reminder to all that the Dow is not a steady index, but its components change over time in a completely unscientific and subjective way. The index creators add companies that are on their way up (Microsoft for example) and eliminate those that are on their way down (e.g. US Steel). In this way the index always goes up, which might suit the purposes of those wishing for more people to invest. However, it also has the result that the index cannot be reliably compared from one decade to the next.

    What is the line for “Debt GDP”? What type of debt? Gov’t? State or Federal? Business debt? Personal real estate backed, or all consumer debt? Student loans?

    Third, is this a ratio of debt to GDP? If so, the chart creator is comparing a ratio to values on the same chart and using a single scale in dollars for both the value of items and the ratio. The chart creator also uses the same scale for interest rates. The author seems to be trying to compare asset values. Bond rates are not the value of the asset. For that matter, a bond held to maturity always has a flat value line.

    Since I’m not a professional economist I always become disheartened when I can poke holes in professional analysis. If little ‘ol me can find errors then the work must be really screwed up. I like the concept of comparing asset classes though. I’ll look forward to v2.0.

    • I concur. I’d prefer to see National Debt not as a ratio. I’d prefer to see GDP on the chart by itself not as a ratio. And instead of just plotting the interest rate on the 10 year bonds, why not work out what a steadily-reinvested ladder of 10 year bonds would have hearned? (i.e. roll earnings and principal into a new 10 year every year, and watch that compound.)

      Then take all of those and normalize them to 1 at some common point on the graph, so viewers can compare the relative performance. (Better still, code it up and make it interactive so you can compare relative performance from different starting points! That would be cool.)

  7. mock turtle says:

    im not so smart so i could be all wrong about this

    but it sems to me that the chart IS informative as the areas beneath each curve and the slope of each curve, although visually correlate, in fact are grossly disparate since the graph is logarithmic

    thus, for example the graph of oil shows a 32 fold increase where as the djia shows more than a 100 fold increase

    of course its important to remember that the dow constantly changes composition in favor of winners and drops losers over the course of time, so, that metric is “rigged”


    even looking at the wider index, the price of stocks by comparison to others elements graphed, have have “logged” (pun intended), a dramatic rise in price…no?

    best wishes
    mock turtle

  8. Ralph Dillon says:

    @ Marc, please don’t mistake me for an Economist, as the chart is designed only to invoke an emotion reaction. Especially from a historical perspective. We are a historical data resource provider. I find it interesting to just look at things from a much simpler perspective and this chart was designed to look at everything in one spot. Its as simple as that. Something I have never seen. If you would like to see something that would interest you regarding this, I would be happy to accommodate you. Reach out to me personally at

    The Debt series is total private and public debt. In addition, it is as a percentage of GDP.

    Also, I have sent Barry a chart that has been adjusted for inflation…Stay tuned.

  9. One other comment – these charts need to plot not just nominal prices, but total returns. It doesn’t look like the Dow and S&P500 series include dividends. Doing so would substantially increase the apparent performance of those series, especially during the earlier years.

  10. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    I’m interested in how the S&P series interpolation was constructed all the way back to the mid 19th century.

    Great charts! If you bought the Dow in 1924, you had only your reinvested dividends to show for gains as of 1982. No other real gains according to that chart.

  11. sureseam says:

    These are interesting graphs. The value of money changes via inflation in ways that are deliberately miscalibrated by those responsible for measuring it.

    An additional graph that would also be interesting would be the % of national resources in each of these asset classes over time. As always: the really interesting graphs are almost impossible to construct.

  12. AdeH says:

    What is included in Debt/GDP. I’m surprised not to see a post WWII spike.

  13. [...] Chart: Major asset classes (1850-2013) | Global Financial Data Really long term chart includes $SPX, $DJIA, $GC_F, $SI_F, $CL_F, $TNX & US Debt/GDP. Everything is near alltime highs (except 10y Treasury yield). [...]