How the S&P's Mighty Have Fallen: Ritholtz Chart

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist writing about finance, the economy and the business world. He started the Big Picture blog in 2003 and is the founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, an asset management and financial planning firm.
Read More.
a | A

This week, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed above 2,000 for the first time.

Here's what the Wall Street Journal wrote:

It took 16 years for the S&P to gain 1000 points since breaking through 1000 for the first time in 1998.

The index was also much pricier in 1998, when it was at 1,000.

More from the Journal:

The stocks in the S&P 500 were trading at 23.1 times their expected 12-month earnings as of March 31, 1998, according to FactSet. As of Friday, the S&P was trading at a price/earnings ratio of 15.5, compared with the 10-year average of 13.9.

Apple Inc., with its huge hoard of cash and single digit (excluding cash) price-earnings ratio is the top dog in the S&P 500. Back in 1998, General Electric Co. was at the top. That was before we learned of the accounting shenanigans in GE's financial-services division. The former market-cap leader has fallen to eighth.

Back in 1998, Apple barely registered on the index. Today, it $640 billion market value is 50 percent bigger than Exxon Mobil Corp.'s, the second largest company in the index.

Since the index hit 1,000, it has suffered two major bear markets.

It will be interesting to see what the index looks like if, and when, it reaches 3,000.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Barry L Ritholtz at