Sunday, April 07, 2013

1968: End of an Investment Era

Mad Men resumes today. Even the Brits are excited. Reliable sources say the new shows pick up the story in 1968.

So far, the turmoil of the 1960s has barely touched Mad Men. That's fairly true to life. If your kids hadn't turned hippie and you didn't have to dodge the draft, 1968 might have left you unscathed. Certainly the prototype wealthy man and wealthy woman in these 1968 Chemical ads look as Old Money as ever.

Nevertheless, for the stock market the end was nigh.
 In 1968, the stock market had been rising, with only minor interruptions, for two decades, and the last recession, in 1961, was a distant memory. Many hot initial public offerings doubled the first day they traded. American households had a record 23.7 percent of their assets in stocks -- a figure not exceeded until 1998, when it hit 24.3 percent. (In 1978, after a brutal bear market, the figure was down to 8.5 percent.)
Floyd Norris included that description in his timely 1999 NY Times column, 1968 Redux. Not until 1982 would another great Bull Market begin – and by then, investors had taken the worst beating, after taking inflation into account, since the Great Depression.


Jim Gust said...

Interesting similarity between the Chemical ads and this year's T&IS covers.

JLM said...

Didn't the art department tell you? Retro is all the rage.