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Byline: Harriet Johnson Brackey
It's official: 2008 was the worst year since the Great Depression for stocks.
With relief that the year is over and hope that the experience won't be repeated in the one beginning Thursday, Wall Street closed the books on the biggest annual decline since 1931 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The rest of the major market indexes also fell by huge amounts, destroying not only portfolios but basic investor confidence in the stock market itself.
Even though stocks were up Wednesday, with the Dow rising 108 points to close at 8776.39, for all of 2008 the Dow fell 33.84 percent. That makes it the third worst year on record for the Dow.
The Standard & Poor's 500 had an even larger decline, down 38.49 percent for the year to …