As of 2015, Yahoo Finance offers historical stock charts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average index and the S&P 500 index, while MarketWatch offers historical charts for the New York Stock Exchange Composite index, as their respective websites indicate. In addition, StockCharts offers an extensive collection of free historical stock charts covering a wide array of indexes, as shown on its website.Continue Reading
If used as a proxy for the entire U.S. stock market, the historical performance of the S&P 500 index shows that the market has doubled in real terms since the 1970s as of 2015, as Business Insider explains. This is in contrast to the Japanese market, where stocks trade at the same level as they did during the 1970s after adjusting for inflation. This poor performance reflects the country's deflation quagmire.
Stocks in the U.S market have outperformed bonds and cash over the previous 130 years, yielding returns of roughly 6.5 percent per year after adjusting for inflation, reports Business Insider. Surprisingly, stock price appreciation is responsible for only a fraction of the return, with dividends accounting for most of the favorable performance. Between 1871 and 1982, dividends lifted returns by 5 percent per year, but they have performed only half as well since 1982. However, if 2009 dividend ratio trends remain in place, stocks are set to give returns of 4 percent per annum in the following decades.Learn more about Investing