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