Over a two-year period, a 30% gain is certainly in the realm of what’s considered normal. I’ll spare you the statistics lesson, but a gain of as much as 45.2% or a loss of as much as 22.8% in any single year are both not statistically unusual. And the market’s performance has been outside of these bounds twice in the past 50 years, so even this isn’t a guaranteed range.

The market could conceivably rise by 30% this year, fall 20% next year and rise another 40% in 2020.

Having said that, stocks are surprisingly predictable over long periods of time, say 20 years or more. Over a period of 20-plus years, the major stock indexes have generated annualized total returns of 9% to 11%, depending on the time you’re looking at.

The S&P 500 has had two nine-year stretches over the past 50 years where the index produced positive total returns every year, including the one we’re still experiencing.

Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.Motley Fool co-founders Tom and David Gardner have spent more than a decade beating the market.Tom and David just revealed their ten top stock picks for investors to buy right now.

 

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