Friday’s volume on Wall Street was light. Stocks generally rose amid speculation the Federal Reserve will hold off on an interest rate hike when they meet this week. However, energy shares fell after Goldman Sachs lowered its forecast for oil prices through next year. For the week, the Dow rose 2.13 percent to close at 16,433.09. The S&P gained 2.13 percent to finish at 1,961.05, and the NASDAQ climbed 2.96 percent to end the week at 4,822.34.
Five of the seven worst percentage loss days for the S&P 500 in the last 65 years (i.e., dating back to 1950) occurred during the month of October (source: BTN Research).
Chasing Last Year's Best –
An equal investment completed at the end of the trading day on Dec. 31, 2014, in the 10 best performing individual stocks within the S&P 500 from calendar year 2014 is up a collective 1.4 percent YTD through Aug. 31, 2015 (source: BTN Research).
More Than Half the Gain -
The total return of the S&P 500 over the last five calendar years (2010-2014) is 105.1 percent (total return). The best 12 trading days during the five years (i.e., 12 days out of 1,258 total trading days) produced a 53.7 percent gain. Thus, 1 percent of trading days over the last five years were responsible for 51 percent of the index’s total return (source: BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Strategies for Volatile Markets
Market volatility, especially dramatic sell-offs, are unsettling to most of us. Here are a few reassuring facts to help you keep a positive perspective and some precautions that may reduce your risks.
Things to remember: Historically, stocks have gone down faster than they have gone up, but they also went up more frequently than they went down. Over the last 100 years, the stock market was up 60 to 65 years and down around 35 years. On average, the market declined one year in three. Over the past century, stocks averaged a 9 to 10 percent annualized gain, while bonds returned 6 to 7 percent, and interest-bearing bank accounts earned 1 – 3 percent.*
Things to do: To ride out the storm, focus more on your goals than the current news. Try not to react emotionally; investors trying to time the market by jumping in and out of it run the risk of selling low and missing periods of exceptional returns. While past performance is not a guarantee of future results, most financial experts recommend adopting a long-term strategy when investing in the stock market.
Turbulent times are a good reminder, however, to review your plan regularly. Consider how well it fits your investment time frame, your need for growth and the level of risk you’re willing to take. Is your portfolio diversified adequately? Spreading investments over a variety of classes, assets and markets won’t guarantee you won’t incur losses, but it may limit them. You may want to make plans now to rebalance some of your holdings when the time is right, or you might view a downturn as an opportune time to purchase some investments at reduced levels.
If you’re still working, don’t let temporary setbacks discourage you from making regular contributions to your retirement plan. Continue to invest a fixed amount of money at regular periods over the years, and you’ll buy more shares of each asset when prices are low and fewer when they are high. Using this technique, your average purchase price should be lower than the average market price over the same period.
Finally, be patient. Although it may take some time, markets generally do rebound. In the meantime, please feel free to call our office and set up a time to review your portfolio to ensure it suits your long-term goals and includes a plan for future market volatility.
*stats from Motley Fool Podcast, “Coping With Market Volatility,” posted August 26, 2015
The Dorion-Gray Team
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning is a trade name of Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Dorion-Gray and the Securities America companies are separate, unaffiliated entities. Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes. Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.
© 2013. Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc.