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The Rewarding Distribution of US Stock Market Returns

Jacob King

Annual stock market returns are unpredictable, but “up” years have occurred much more frequently than “down” years in the US. That may be reassuring to investors, especially if they find market downturns unsettling.

  • The US stock market posted positive returns in 75% of the calendar years from 1926 through 2021.
  • The market gained an annualized average of 10.2% during this period. Yet nearly two-thirds of yearly observations were at least 10 percentage points above or below the average.
  • Another noteworthy trend: More than two-thirds of the down years were followed by up years. The most recent example: a 5.0% loss in 2018 followed by a 30.4% gain in 2019.

The stock market tends to reward investors who can weather annual ups and downs and stay committed to a long-term plan.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing risks include loss of principal and fluctuating value. There is no guarantee an investment strategy will be successful. Indices are not available for direct investment. Their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio.

In US dollars. CRSP data provided by the Center for Research in Security Prices, University of Chicago. The CRSP 1–10 Index measures the performance of the total US stock market, which it defines as the aggregate capitalization of all securities listed on the NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ exchanges.

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Beaird Harris Wealth Management, LLC, or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Beaird Harris Wealth Management, LLC To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Beaird Harris Wealth Management, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Beaird Harris Wealth Management, LLC’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available here.

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