The 2011 market returns graph above was created on Yahoo, in their finance section, using their interactive graph feature.
Here's what you're looking at:
- Blue section: represents the S&P 500 Index
- Green line: represents the International Markets. Symbol EFA is an exchange traded fund, specifically iShares MSCI EAFE. EAFE stands for Europe, Asia, Far East. MSCI stands for Morgan Stanley Capital International.
- Red line: Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Brown line: represents Vanguard's Total Bond Market Index
If you recall, at the end of the end of July, ratings on U.S. Government bonds were lowered, and you see things decline in August of 2011. Over the course of the year, the S&P recovered to finish the year about where it started, the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up about 5% for the year, bonds in aggregate finished up a little, and with the turmoil in Europe, overseas stocks went down and have yet to recover.
If you own a diversified portfolio, you didn't need to worry about the headlines in 2011. Some of the things you owned went up, and some went down. And if you rebalance, it will force you to buy more international when it's down. Remember, it's buy low, sell high!
Lesson to be learned: don't get caught up in the headlines and cause yourself emotional stress for. Stick with a long term investment plan, turn of CNBC and go enjoy life!
Check out the next few graphs to see how the last decade has played out.