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Assessing damage in one of the stock market's worst dips of 2015

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(Bloomberg Business) — It may be surprising that the U.S. stock market isn’t in worse shape, given how the situations in Greece and Puerto Rico have deteriorated, China’s equity market collapsed and Phil Lesh did so much of the singing in the Grateful Dead’s farewell tour.  

Still, the retreat from the last S&P 500 record in May is shaping up to be one of the worst dips of the year for the U.S. stock market. To track all the damage done so far, it may make sense to start at the end of last year. The Dow Jones Transportation Average hasn’t set a new high all year and is down 12 percent since its record on Dec. 29. In fact, even amid the plunge in oil prices, the airline-heavy gauge has fallen to a nine-month low. The damage in that group has been pretty evenly split among the railroads that make a lot of money shipping crude oil and the airlines that spend a lot burning it once it’s refined.   

Outside the U.S., the pan-European benchmarks peaked almost three months ago, and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index has fallen almost 10 percent since April 15. Some national indexes have fared worse, with Germany’s DAX down 14 percent since April 10. All 19 of the main industry groups in the European regional index have  declined since then, with commodity and energy producers faring theworst. 

Back in the U.S., the Dow Jones  Industrial Average last set a record on May 19, and is down about 4.4 percent since then. Only Nike Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are up since then. DuPont Co., Chevron Corp. and Intel Corp. have fared the worst, down more than 10 percent. 

Then came the S&P 500′s peak on May 21. Like the Stoxx 600, it’s been energy and raw-materials companies that led the drop, followed by industrial, technology and utility shares. Its drop since then is closing in on 4 percent, which would mark the worst retreat in this quiet year.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index didn’t peak until June 12 and it’s lost almost 28 percent since then. Next came the Nasdaq Composite Index and Nasdaq 100 Index, both of which last set new highs on June 23 (a record for the composite, a 15-year high for the 100.) 

The recent declines are hitting a U.S. market that was not exactly lighting the world on fire in 2015. The most the S&P 500 had gained year-to-date was less than 3.5 percent at its last record on May 21. In a sense, it’s likePhil Lesh has been singing all year.