The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926. But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful to see the range of outcomes experienced by investors historically. For example, how often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average?
Exhibit 1 shows calendar year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band marks the historical average of 10%, plus or minus 2 percentage points. The S&P 500 Index had a return within this range in only six of the past 93 calendar years. In most years, the index’s return was outside of the range—often above or below by a wide margin—with no obvious pattern. For investors, the data highlight the importance of looking beyond average returns and being aware of the range of potential outcomes.
TUNING IN TO DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES
REACTING IMPACTS PERFORMANCE
Exhibit 3 helps illustrate this point. It shows the annualized compound return of the S&P 500 Index going back to 1990 and illustrates the impact of missing out on just a few days of strong returns. The bars represent the hypothetical growth of $1,000 over the period and show what happened if you missed the best single day during the period and what happened if you missed a handful of the best single days. The data shows that being on the sidelines for only a few of the best single days in the market would have resulted in substantially lower returns than the total period had to offer.
Equity markets around the globe posted positive returns for the quarter. Looking at broad market indices, US equities outperformed non-US developed and emerging markets during the quarter.
Value stocks outperformed growth stocks in emerging markets but underperformed in developed markets, including the US. Small caps underperformed large caps in all regions.
REIT indices underperformed equity market indices in both the US and non-US developed markets.
Long-term Market Summary
World Asset Classes
SECOND QUARTER 2019 INDEX RETURNS (%)
Impact of Diversification
Second Quarter 2019 Index Returns
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Diversification does not eliminate the risk of market loss. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index performance does not reflect expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio. Asset allocations and the hypothetical index portfolio returns are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent actual performance. Global Stocks represented by MSCI All Country World Index (gross div.) and Treasury Bills represented by US One-Month Treasury Bills. Globally diversified allocations rebalanced monthly, no withdrawals. Data © MSCI 2019, all rights reserved. Treasury bills © Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation YearbookTM, Ibbotson Associates, Chicago (annually updated work by Roger G. Ibbotson and Rex A. Sinquefield).
This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be considered advice. Information is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, but are not independently audited. Views and opinions are subject to change at any time based on market and other conditions.