How to Handle a Painfully Unpredictable Market

After the wrenching swings of late 2018 and early January, it was difficult to harbor many illusions about the stock market.

It became clear that investing in stocks wasn’t easy, predictable or safe, at least in the short run. If you weren’t a risk taker or deeply committed for the long term, it was difficult to look at the market closely and remain calm.

In fact, the long bull market had a near-death experience in December. Based on intraday trading, stocks descended just below the 20 percent-loss threshold that customarily denotes the birth of a bear market.

Counting only prices at the market close, however, the Dow Jones industrial average didn’t quite fall into that dismal territory. Still, despite a market rise in January, losses have been severe, especially in sectors that had been highfliers, like technology.

What’s an investor to do? Our quarterly survey contains some lessons and suggestions.

After a Market Swoon, Investors Want Safety

Recession fears have emerged despite strong job growth, making some investors wary of stocks and looking for havens. But many strategists urge caution, saying it isn’t wise to pile on risk until the status of the market and the economy are clearer.

Read more » Real Estate Funds Have Been a Balm in a Stinging Market

Real estate funds fared reasonably well through much of the autumn downturn. While headline-grabbing sectors like technology plunged, funds that invested in commercial real estate — office buildings, malls and warehouses — were fairly steady. What are their prospects in a really rocky market?

Read more » For a While, Bond Funds Were an Exception to the Indexing Rule

Bonds are often a source of solace during stock downturns, and active bond funds have done relatively well compared with index funds. Active bond funds were actually beating index

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