The period between 1980 and 2000 was a golden era for equities. Just about everything that could go right went right. Inflation moved persistently lower, labour market deregulation and outsourcing provided companies with cheap sources of global labour, and demographics were helpful. Peaking at just under $40 in 1980, oil prices typically traded below $20 for the next 20 years. Household and government borrowing were low. The Cold War ended, providing the so-called peace dividend. Equity investors saw returns over this period higher than virtually any other 20-year period in history.
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