Rich Karlgaard puts the Dow rally into perspective in the Wall Street Journal, 2/5/13.

Excerpt from The Stock Rally That Isn’t; (may require a paid subscription to read online)

In December 1974, the S&P 500 hit a low of 67, having fallen 45% over the previous 23 months. The 1973-74 crash coincided with a recession that produced unemployment of 10% and a collapse in American confidence, led by President Richard Nixon’s resignation in August 1974 and a worsening situation in Vietnam.

Six years later, in December 1980, the S&P 500 was at 136, a gain of 103%. But over those six years gold rose in value by 182%, oil by 270% and silver by 340%. Nearly every other commodity similarly outpaced the stock gains during the supposed Ford-Carter rally.

The Obama-era stock rally is stronger compared with commodities than was the Ford-Carter rally, but not by much. With the S&P 500 up 124% over the past four years, gold is up 88%, oil 106% and silver 167%.

What does a genuine stock rally look like? For that, see the August 1982 to January 2000 boom, during which the S&P 500 soared 1,194% while gold dropped in value by 35%, oil by 23%, and silver by 17%. Stocks way up. Commodities down.