Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Get Used to Market Volatility

By Steven Goldberg





(Steven Goldberg, an investment adviser in the Washington, D.C. area, is a contributing columnist for Kiplinger.)


We'd all be a lot happier if the stock market always behaved much like it did in the first quarter of 2012. Standard & Poor's 500-stock index returned 12.6%, and the market suffered few sharp drops or rises. It was smooth sailing.

Unfortunately, the market's path to profits is almost never so placid. Such times, alas, occur only rarely.

In an average calendar year, you can expect stocks to tumble 13.5%! That's how much the S&P 500 has fallen in price intra-year, on average, since 1928, according to the Leuthold Group, a Minneapolis-based investment research firm.

Let me elaborate. I'm not saying the stock market suffers a net loss of 13.5% in an average year. The S&P 500 has returned an annualized 9.8% (including dividends) since 1926. But during the average calendar year, the index experiences a 13.5% decline from peak to trough before (usually) rebounding. Looking at it another way, to reap the long-term profits that the stock market has historically produced, investors must be able to tolerate the volatility that comes with those gains.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". In addition to INSPIRING stories, HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


The market has been especially volatile of late, with investors reacting to developments in the festering crisis in Europe. But from the market's peak this year on April 2 through June 25, the S&P index has fallen only 7.0%.

Take a look at some other past intra-year losses. In 2011, the market plummeted 19.4% after Congress and the White House dithered endlessly over raising the debt ceiling, and Standard & Poor's downgraded the nation's credit rating. We subsequently made up for those losses and moved higher -- but it was a gut-wrenching ride.

Last year was hardly unique. The S&P tumbled 16.0% intra year in 2010, 27.6% in 2009 and 47.3% in 2008. In 2007, as the 2007-2009 bear market was getting under way, stocks lost only 10.1% at their worst.

In spite of those vicious selloffs, the S&P has nearly doubled in price since the market hit bottom on March 9, 2009. As hard as it may have been to do, you were well rewarded for staying put with your seat belt fastened.

High volatility doesn't necessarily predict lousy stock returns, nor do tranquil markets presage big gains. Consider the 2003-2006 period, during which the market advanced relatively calmly. The biggest intra-year loss over that span was 14.1%, in 2003. The other three years each saw maximum losses of 8.2% or less.

But even as the market was behaving so politely, it was getting ready to rob us of serious money. The S&P lost 55.3% in the bear market that started in October 2007 -- its biggest decline since the Great Depression.

The 1990s were likewise placid. In 1990, stocks fell 19.9% intra year, and in 1998, they dropped 19.3%. Other than that, the biggest intra-year loss was 12.1%, in 1999.

Yup, those were the good old days. But, of course, they were followed by the popping of the tech bubble, in 2000, kicking off one of the most dismal long-term periods in market history -- the one we're still experiencing.

Investors are plainly agitated by the stock market's wild swings. You can see it in their relentless withdrawals from stock funds and their equally relentless purchases of bond funds.

Leuthold's Douglas Ramsey calls the longing for low volatility nothing short of an "investment mania. Today's investment mania is volatility minimization." Witness Treasury bills, which yield practically nothing, and Treasury bonds, which yield only a little more. Yet investors large and small continue to flee into these "safe" assets. When interest rates rise, as they inevitably will, Treasury bonds will plunge in value.

Ramsey adds: "Volatility is endemic to the game, and we find today's cost of avoiding it to be exceptionally (and in most cases, unacceptably) high."

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Comment by clicking here.


All contents copyright 2012 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Media Services. All rights reserved.