40 years ago today, the most infamous edition of BusinessWeek was published. “Death of Equities” it declared, with a subhead read, “How inflation is destroying the stock market.”
It was a few years early, but if you bought stocks on this signal, you did pretty well: The S&P500 was about $107 in August 1979; it is almost $3,000 today. You enjoyed a 30% rally to the highs near 140 in November 1980; a sell off of about 26% to 103 in 1982. Only after that did you get to enjoy a 7,000% gain.
Then owned by McGraw Hill, this edition of BusinessWeek was little noticed at the time. (full story here). The new BusinessWeek — bought by Bloomberg for $1 in 2009 — has a new story out on that issue: It’s Been 40 Years Since Our Cover Story Declared ‘The Death of Equities.’ Peter Coy adds “people never tire of reminding us of the bull market” that followed:
“We’re still getting grief for a cover story that appeared in BusinessWeek—the ancestor of Bloomberg Businessweek—four decades ago. On Aug. 13, 1979, the headline on the cover was “The Death of Equities: How Inflation Is Destroying the Stock Market.” Three years after that article appeared, the stock market hit bottom and then began a remarkable resurgence. The total return on the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index since its 1982 low, with dividends reinvested, has been nearly 7,000%. Not bad for a corpse.”
Almost 15 years ago, I wrote I wanted a copy (WANTED: August 13, 1979 Business Week); I am still waiting for someone to offer one for sale.
Note most people still misunderstand the magazine cover indicator. This one is no different.
Magazine Cover Indicator.