It has been ten years since the U.S. stock markets saw a year as bad as 2018, according to CNN.
The Dow fell 5.6%. The S&P 500 was down 6.2% and the Nasdaq fell 4%. It was the worst year for stocks since 2008 and only the second year the Dow and S&P 500 fell in the past decade. (The S&P 500 and Dow were down slightly in 2015, but the Nasdaq was higher that year.)
December was a particularly dreadful month: The S&P 500 was down 9% and the Dow was down 8.7% — the worst December since 1931. In one seven-day stretch, the Dow fell by 350 points or more six times. This year's Christmas Eve was the worst ever for the index.
Though the year wasn’t all bad news — CNN notes that the “S&P 500 set an all-time record on September 20, and the Dow closed at its record on October 3” and the “Dow also closed more than 1,000 points higher on December 26” for the first time ever — extreme volatility characterized 2018, and that is how history will remember it.
The VIX volatility index spiked, and CNN Business' Fear & Greed Index has been stuck in "Extreme Fear" throughout much of the year. The Dow has swung 1,000 points in a single session only eight times in its history, and five of those took place in 2018.
Volatility was been driven by signs of a global economic slowdown, concerns about monetary policy, political dysfunction, inflation fears and worries about increased regulation of the technology sector.