Stock returns are volatile, but nearly a century of bull and bear markets shows that the good times have outshined the bad times. The bull or positive years in the stock market are in blue and the bear or negative years in the market are shown in gold in the chart above.
- From 1926 through 2021, the S&P 500 Index experienced 17 bear markets, or a fall of at least 20% from a previous peak. The declines ranged from —21% to —80% lasting an average length of around 12 months.
- On the upside, there were 18 bull markets, or gains of at least 20% from a previous trough. They averaged lasting 55 months in length, and advances ranged from 21% to 936%.
- When the bull and bear markets are viewed together, it’s clear equities have rewarded disciplined investors.
The stock market’s ups and downs are unpredictable, but history supports an expectation of positive returns over the long term. For the best shot at the capturing the benefits the market can offer, stay the course.
If you have a long-term horizon as an investor, Choose Blue! It is likely that a part of your goals requires at least a long-term time frame such as maintaining your lifestyle in what will likely be a long retirement or legacy wishes.
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