What the market does today, it may not do tomorrow. That may seem elementary, but there are days, weeks, months, and even years when that investing lesson is ignored. Wall Street started 2015 with pronounced volatility, and in the opening six weeks of the year, investors were again reminded why patience is so important.
What did investors do in January? Sell. The S&P 500 lost 3.10%. Discouraging news items bred pessimism: deflation was coming to Europe, world demand for oil had peaked and prices would never come near $100 again, the slowdown in Europe and Asia would soon unravel America’s economic comeback. An old market belief dictates that the opening month of a year sets the tone for the rest of the year. Clear implication: 2015 equals bad market year. Sell, sell before it is too late.1