From March 2009 through September 2018 — a period encompassing almost 10 years and the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis — the world’s stock markets performed exceedingly well. Over this period, the global stock market was up 14.3 percent per year while the S&P 500 was up 17.9 percent per year. This means that $1 invested in global stocks grew to $3.60 while $1 invested in the S&P 500 was worth $4.84. Other than the first few years of this period, stock market volatility was also well below its long-term average. This changed swiftly in 2018’s fourth quarter, with global stocks down 12.7 percent and the S&P 500 down 13.5 percent. These bleak returns came with a corresponding uptick in volatility; the quarter saw numerous days with stocks either rising or falling by 2 percent or more.
With such a dramatic reversal, we wanted to revisit the stock market’s longer-term behavior, so we can put more perspective around its recent movements, and also reinforce longer-term investment principles that we continue to believe represent the best course of action, or more accurately inaction. > SEE MORE
We hope that you and yours are doing well as we swing into the holiday season. In a world both wondrous and sometimes weird, you may have mixed emotions about the days, months, and the new year ahead of us – an intermingling of fear and optimism, hope and hesitation, possibly even sorrow and joy. And you may have noticed that the markets have been swinging through every one of these same emotions as well, in real, seemingly manic time.
For capital markets, that’s perfectly alright. In fact, it’s precisely what they’re supposed to be doing. Out of the seeming chaos, an efficient method arises for setting and re-setting relatively fair pricing. It’s exactly how tens of millions of trades occur every day, at lightning speed, around the world. If prices instead grew sluggish or stagnant, so too would our ability to make money in the markets.
That said, while apparent mayhem may make perfect sense for moving markets, it’s not how you need to live when thinking about your portfolio. As an individual investor, you get to choose which game to play. > SEE MORE
While this article does get a little into the technical side of investing this month, its theme is at the core of our philosophy at Waypoint so we think it’s a good reminder to investors and clients. It involves the idea (myth, really) that investors can consistently create “alpha” or out-performance by making changes to their investments (or hiring someone to do so) based on their current opinion with where we are economically or politically or historically. Recently, our Director of Research with the BAM Alliance Larry Swedroe wrote (again) about the truths and myths of “active” investment management and the attempt to outperform:
It’s truly an amazing paradox. According to the Thomson Reuters Lipper second-quarter 2018 snapshot of U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded products, active funds of all kinds, including money market funds, manage about $16.4 trillion.
That’s more than 2 1/2 times the $6 trillion managed by passive funds and ETFs. That’s also despite the overwhelming evidence that active management is a loser’s game (one that’s possible to win, but with odds of doing so that are so poor, the winning strategy is not to play). > SEE MORE