Investors have recently been pessimistic on the U.S. stock market and pointed to the fact that slowing economic growth is impacting corporate earnings.

But BMO’s Brian Belski notes that “S&P 500 earnings are not U.S. GDP”.

And even when S&P 500 earnings fall, stocks often do well.

He draws our attention to this cool chart which looks at stock market performance from 1950 – 2011 to illustrate his point.

The red box references the following years – 1951, 1952, 1961, 1967, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, and 1998. The average EPS growth for these years was -6.6 percent, but the average return was a staggering 22.1 percent.

chart of the day, market performance 1950-2011, august 2012

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