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Another common tactic during periods of market volatility and uncertainty is to park long-term assets in cash investments. While waiting on the sidelines can sometimes seem the prudent strategy, it comes at a cost. CDs and money market accounts may be less volatile than stocks and bonds, but they also offer little opportunity for growth and income.
If individual days can affect performance so dramatically, then why not be in the market for the good ones and out for the bad ones? Far easier said than done. Many investors try to time the market, chasing today's hot investment or fleeing the latest downturn. Such a short-term perspective can harm performance and jeopardize your long-term financial goals.
During the three year period from January 2008 to January 2011, the S&P 500 lost 12.11%. If you owned stock in multiple large American companies, it’s likely you would’ve experienced a similar amount of loss during this time. Now imagine you sold your shares before the January ’08 crash and bought at the beginning of the bull cycle in March 2009. In less than 2 years, you would’ve been up 88%.
In the 1800s, the burgeoning grain trade led to the establishment of commodities forward contract markets in the United States. Farmers in the Midwest would bring their crops to Chicago for storage prior to shipment to the East Coast. However, during storage, the prices for these grains might change for a variety of reasons. The quality of the stored item could deteriorate, for example, or demand for the item could increase or decrease.

Most historians agree, though, that the adoption of gold coins as a medium of exchange in medieval Europe played a key role in the development of commodity markets. Regions throughout Europe began making their own specialized gold coins and trading with merchants returning from the East Indies and Asia. These developments led to the need for centralized exchanges.
Are the metals markets ending a price correction in unison and preparing for a massive price advance?  This is the question we asked our research team to investigate and their findings may help skilled traders identify great opportunities in the future.  This multi-part research article will share our most recent opinion about the metals markets as well as share some critical new data that can shed some light into what we believe will become a massive upside price rally in the metals markets. Let’s get into the data.

But we can see that investors can be their own worst enemy - selling at the times of greatest panic, and potentially then missing out on subsequent gains. Basically, although you can look at a stock chart and imagine what you might do, your actual behavior may be quite different than you project due to the emotions of fear and greed. This can consume even the most well intentioned investor. Therefore, for many investors what appears to be rational market timing may actually be giving into the emotions of fear and greed, with unfortunate results. Of course, it is tempting to believe that you are a better investor than average, or at least better at keeping your emotions under control, but there is also substantial evidence that people are generally over confident about their own ability in many fields from driving safety to investing skill.
30 years equals about 11,000 days. One might assume that eliminating a few of those days would have little impact on investment performance during that time. Yet, if the ten best days of the S&P 500 Index for the period 1983- 2013 are excluded, the average annual return drops from 8.40% to 5.80%. If the twenty best days are excluded, the average annual return drops to 4.09%.
So how would this market timing system have fared over the past five years? According to fundamental back-testing, these two simple rules would have generated an 18.9% annualized return with a 17.4% max drawdown, and the 5-year total return would have been 137.26%. (Drawdown refers to the amount of portfolio loss from peak to trough.) In comparison, the market had an annualized 0.65% return and a 5-year gain of 3.3% with a 56% max drawdown.
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