Positive vs. Negative

The odds have favored the investor who takes a long-term approach. Though the stock market’s returns vary tremendously, they were positive in 76% of the years shown, as measured by the S&P 500.


Positive versus negative average annual returns for the S&P 500 (1937–2017)

Source: Legg Mason. Returns prior to 1957 are representative of the S&P 90 Index, a value-weighted index based on 90 stocks. Performance shown reflects the effects of dividend reinvestment. This chart is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent actual performance, past or future, of any investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. 

The S&P 500 Index (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks that is generally representative of the performance of larger companies in the U.S. Performance does not reflect the impact of fees and expenses. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges.


Why it May Pay to Stay Invested

Although stocks have averaged an 10.4% return since 1937, the return can be higher or lower in any single year. Long-term investors should consider the pattern of returns over time and not be thrown off-course by the market’s shorter-term ups and downs: steady, continuous growth has been the exception, not the rule.



Your financial professional can help you develop a long-term investment plan with a balance of strategies that addresses your need for portfolio growth, income, capital preservation and risk management.



 1 Source: Legg Mason.

All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged, and not available for direct investment. Index returns do not include fees or sales charges.

Equity investments generally provide an opportunity for more capital appreciation than fixed income investments, but they are subject to greater market fluctuations.

Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against market loss.

Any information, statement or opinion set forth herein is general in nature, is not directed to or based on the financial situation or needs of any particular investor, and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results, or a recommendation with respect to any particular security or investment strategy or type of retirement account. Investors seeking financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities or investment strategies should consult their financial professional.