I have posted charts showing annual stock market and bond market returns for various indices in recent years for the time periods from 1980-2006, 1980-2007, 1980-2008, 1980-2009, and 1980-2010, and 1980-2011. Shown below is an updated chart including returns from 2012 as shown below (click on the image for a larger view).
chart shown below illustrates returns for small cap indices (Russell
2000, Russell 2000 Value, and Russell 2000 Growth), large cap indices
(S&P 500, S&P/Citi 500 Value, and S&P/Citi 500
Growth), a broad-based foreign stock index (Morgan Stanley Capital
International Index for the developed stock markets of Europe,
Australasia, and the Far East ("MSCI EAFE index")), an index of bonds
(Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index)*, and the Nasdaq Composite Index.
was a good year for most stock market indices as central banks around
the world continued a strategy of monetary easing to provide additional
liquidity to the markets. Each of the stock market indices shown in the
chart below returned at least 14% in 2012. The bond market, on the other hand, lagged the stock market indices, returning just over 4%.
Value indices outperformed Growth indices during the past year - the
Russell 2000 Value Index was the strongest equity performer of the
indices shown below for the first time since 2004, returning about 18.05%. The next best performer was the S&P 500 Value Index, which returned about 17.68% in 2012.
International equities rebounded from a tough environment as a result of the Euro-zone issues in 2011, with the MSCI EAFE Index gaining about 17.32%. Other U.S. stock indices were also up across the board, with the S&P 500 Index gaining about 16%, the Russell 2000 Index gaining about 16.35%, and the Nasdaq Composite gaining about 15.91%.
As shown in the chart below, the Russell
2000 Value Index provided the strongest returns by far between 1980 and
2012, returning a total of 4,864.28%, or an average of 12.56% per year.
The total returns of the Russell 2000 Value Index has returned nearly
1,700% more relative to its initial value on December 31, 1979 than
the next best index tracked below, the S&P 500 Index.
* The Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index was known as the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond Index prior to 2008.
*** Edit - January 2, 2017 ***
I have updated this chart with results through 2016.