Coping with Stock Market Uncertainties


Global events can certainly affect the U.S. stock market. Throughout its history, however, the U.S. stock market has proved to be quite resilient over the long term—bouncing back time and time again from the impact of world crises. Examining how some past global problems have affected the U.S. stock market may help you better grapple with the economic and investment uncertainties of crisis events.

Action and Reaction

It may reassure you to know that the stock market has historically rewarded those who stayed the course during tumultuous times, although past performance cannot guarantee future results. For instance, on the first trading day after the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 23, 1962), the S&P 500 fell 3.78%. Yet only six months later, it had surged 24.66%. More recently, over the one-month period after Iraq invaded Kuwait—a move that eventually led to the first Gulf War—the S&P 500 declined 9.12%. One year later, the index had jumped 10.16%.*1 Sometimes the market’s rebound has been slower in coming. For instance, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the S&P 500 experienced an initial drop, rose slightly after one month and then found itself lower six months after the attack. But by V-J Day, less than four years later in August 1945, the S&P 500 had rebounded 57%.*1

Moving Forward

Of course, economic developments take time to play out, and markets often remain highly volatile in the immediate wake of a world crisis. Aside from keeping history in mind, how might you cope in our ever-changing world? Consider these suggestions: • Focus on your long-term financial plan rather than shortterm market dips. • Be realistic, but not fatalistic, about current market condi- tions and returns. Investors prepared for occasional declines will be less likely to fall prey to panic selling. • Keep your portfolio well diversified to help cushion volatility. • Get to know your finances better and review how different accounts—such as IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans—are invested. • Review your portfolio and make sure that your risk tolerance meshes with your financial goals and time horizon. Remember that while our nation has faced crises before, the economy and the stock market have recovered, in time, stronger than before.

For more information, please contact Robert D. Davis ,III Morgan Stanley Smith Barney at (912) 353-5216. *1-Source: Standard & Poor’s.

This article is provided by
Standard & Poor’s. Past performance

is not indicative or a
guarantee of future results. This
article is published for general
information purposes only and
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© 2009 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

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