Charles Minard’s 1869 graphic detailing Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 has been described as one of the “best statistical drawings ever created” - Charles Minard's Graphic

To encapsulate geography, army size, distance travelled, time, weather conditions and battlefield sites onto a single 2D sheet of paper is a profound achievement.

I believe that Crestmont Research’s chart of stock market returns is of comparable distinction. It has a staggering level of informational content. Starting in 1900, it details returns over annual and multiple rolling annual periods, colour coding signifies the key bull and bear periods, valuation changes, GDP and inflation trends, as well as detailing the year’s most salient macroeconomic events. It is simply a terrific document, albeit without the intuitive ease of reading of Minard’s graphic. Nevertheless, it is well worth the 10 minutes or so that it takes to figure out how it all works. Just don’t try to do this on a mobile screen.

Purists may prefer the inflation adjusted version of the chart, which can be found at Copyright 2016, http://www.crestmontresearch.com. I value it so greatly that an A3 sized copy sits on my office wall.