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Returns Are Not a Straight Line

The stock market as measured by the S&P 500 fell officially into ‘correction’ territory intraday today before rallying, giving back 10% from the highs in April of this year.  A bad jobs report last week and non-stop news of Europe’s attempts to deleverage without killing any hopes of growth are the current heavy weights.  The drumbeat of negative headlines will likely start raising angst among investors who may wonder what to do now.   As we often recite – stick with quality franchises that produce durable and growing streams of cash dividends and try not to let the headlines cause you stress.   Why? In the three decades since 1980 the average intra-year drop investors have experienced, according to Standard and Poor’s, is just shy of 15%, and yet calendar year returns were positive 78% of the time.  Additionally, in the last three years the average drop has been 21%, but by year end median returns were well into positive double digits.  No one knows of course what the rest of the year will hold, but by focusing on quality and income and not allowing fearful headlines to alter a sound investment strategy, investors can increase their chances of long term success.


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