The stock market has been working its way higher since its late November lows. A somewhat positive ending to what was a very dismal year. The Dow was down 33.8% in 2008. To put this year's performance in perspective, today's chart illustrates the 15 worst calendar year performances of the Dow since its inception in 1896. As today's chart illustrates, the Dow's performance in 2008 ranks as the third worst on record. Only 1931 and 1907 endured greater declines. It is of interest that major banking crises occurred in 1931, 1907, 2008, and 1930 - the four worst calendar years on record in terms of stock market performance.