Must Be Present to Win (Or Lose?)
Participants in our website have remarked numerous times on the appearance that the market’s gains are limited to a small number of days, raising questions about the value of trying to time the market. Although it is technically true that a few days provide the full year’s return, viewing that phenomenon through too narrow a lens is a bit misleading and seems to be a biased use of statistics. Since almost half of the days or weeks are positive (and thus half or so are negative), the majority offset each other. The result is that a few good days or few bad days “make” the year. Of course, this interpretation completely ignores the fact that certain periods have favorable financial potential (secular bull markets) and certain periods have unfavorable financial potential (secular bear markets). The same logic that encourages investors to stay in the market seeking gains also subjects them to the adversity of down markets.