Jul 1, 2022 - Economy

The stock market had its worst first half since 1970

Worst first half performances for S&P 500
Data: S&P Dow Jones Indices; Chart: Nicki Camberg/Axios

Congratulations, you just lived through the stock market's worst first half since the Nixon administration.

Driving the news: The S&P 500 dropped 20.6% in the first half of 2022, as the Fed launched a tough rate-hiking campaign to counter inflation.

  • That's the ugliest first half for stocks since 1970, as a recession was getting underway. (The recession would last until November of that year.)
  • This year, of the 11 industrial "sectors" that comprise the S&P 500, just one posted a gain so far. Energy stocks rose 29.2%, on soaring crude oil and gasoline prices.

Yes, but: The carnage in the S&P wasn't as bad as in the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which has fallen 29.5% so far in 2022.

What to watch: Inflation — and whether the Fed ramps up its rate-hiking plans in response to it — will be a major driver of the market's direction for the next few months.

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