An end-of-year boost couldn’t save markets from wrapping up with the biggest annual decline in a decade. In a fitting ending to a tumultuous year, Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index had its worst Christmas Eve performance on record followed by its best day after Christmas performance.

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Since Dec. 1, 2018, the S&P 500 fell 11 percent, as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The stock market has had its worst December since the Great Depression. America’s trade war with China, interest rates and uncertainty in government policy all helped to create a loss of more than 10 percent, as of Dec. 27.

Dec. 4, 2018

Markets tumbled after Trump tweeted “I am a Tariff Man” and the Trump administration backed off earlier claims of a trade-war truce with China.

Dec. 19, 2018

The Federal Reserve announced the interest rate would increase from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, the fourth increase this year. Higher rates mean higher borrowing costs but also tamp down inflation and aim to avert bubbles. In its statement, the Fed acknowledged a softening economy but expressed confidence in the market overall.

Dec. 24, 2018

The S&P 500 logged its worst Christmas Eve performance on record over a number of rising concerns, including the partial government shutdown; Trump’s repeated attacks on the Federal Reserve; and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s statement that American banks had ample credit for borrowing, addressing a concern nobody had, but made some wonder if they should.

Dec. 26, 2018

In a dramatic upward swing, markets received the largest post-Christmas bump on record after reports of strong holiday sales from retailers and assurances that Trump would not fire the Fed chairman. The bump erased the losses since Dec. 20.

Since Sept. 20, 2018, the S&P 500 fell 15 percent.

Sept. 20 was a record high for the S&P 500. It has fallen about 15 percent since then.

Since Jan. 2, 2018, the S&P 500 fell 8 percent.

Even before the market decline that began in October, it has been a volatile year for stocks.

Jan. 22, 2018March 9, 2018March 23, 2018

On Jan. 22, the United States imposed tariffs on washing-machine and solar-cell imports followed by tariffs on steel and aluminum on March 9. In response China levied tariffs on over $5 billion worth of U.S. goods on March 23. The ongoing trade war with China has been a continual source of market movement as investors try to gauge the war’s extent and length.

Jan. 26, 2018Sept. 20, 2018

Better-than-expected earnings reports led the S&P 500 to an all-time high on Jan. 26, one of many record highs across the year culminating with a final peak on Sept. 20.

March 21, 2018June 13, 2018Sept. 26, 2018Dec. 19, 2018

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates four times this year, increasing the rate a total of one point across the year.

Nov. 20, 2018

All the year’s gains were erased on Nov. 20. Although tech stocks were behind much of 2018’s market growth, concerns over subdued earnings and regulatory fears led to a sell-off of large tech companies. Dropping oil prices also contributed to a single day market decline of nearly 2 percent.

Since Jan. 20, 2017, the S&P 500 rose 10 percent.

Markets are still up overall since Trump entered office. Throughout his presidency, Trump has tied market gains to his administration, while pointing the finger elsewhere during its decline.

Nov. 29, 2017

Looks like another great day for the Stock Market. Consumer Confidence is at Record High. I guess somebody likes me (my policies)!

— @realdonaldtrump
Oct. 30, 2018

The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!

— @realdonaldtrump

Since March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 rose 268 percent.

The market gains in the first year of Trump’s presidency were part of a longer climb that began after March 3, 2009, when it bottomed out during the Great Recession. Markets have been on a steady upswing since then, the longest period of optimism and investor confidence ever.

Since Oct. 9, 2007, the S&P 500 rose 59 percent.

The housing market had already been dragging down stocks, but the S&P 500 reached its pre-Great Recession peak in October 2007. The markets boomed around news that interest rates would be cut by half a point, surpassing investor expectations. Less than six months later brokerage firm Bear Stearns collapsed, a defining moment in the Great Recession that sent global markets spiraling.

Since Jan. 1, 2000, the S&P 500 rose 71 percent.

It wasn’t long into 2000 that the dot-com bubble burst. Those who invested at the start of that decade wouldn’t have broken even until seven years later. And that would have been short lived, as the country plunged into the Great Recession shortly thereafter. Most of the gains since 2000 have only been in the past five years.

This year markets experienced their greatest decline in a decade. The drop exceeds the downward blips of 2011 and 2015, but still is far above the lows of the Great Recession.

In 2018, Markets had the

largest decline in a decade

Annual percentage change in S&P 500

20%

2000

’18

0

’06

’12

−20

Dot-com

crash

Great

Recession

−40

In 2018, Markets had the largest

decline in a decade

Annual percentage change in S&P 500

20%

’18

2000

0

’06

’12

−20

Dot-com

crash

Great

Recession

−40

In 2018, Markets had the largest decline

in a decade

Annual percentage change in S&P 500

20%

2000

’18

0

’06

’12

−20

Dot-com

crash

Great

Recession

−40

In 2018, markets had the largest decline in a decade

Annual percentage change in S&P 500

20%

2000

’18

0

’06

’12

−20

Dot-com

crash

Great

Recession

−40

Clarification: A previous version of this story used gains and losses from hypothetical $100 investments to demonstrate market change. But these amounts can vary depending on whether investors choose to reinvest their dividends. To avoid confusion, this story has been updated to show percentage change for the S&P 500 overall.

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Source: Data on the S&P 500 is from Bloomberg News.

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