After years of expecting double-digit returns from their portfolios, intense market volatility has bought investor expectations crashing down to earth. Following two years of dizzying ups and downs, many are now grateful if their portfolios stay in positive territory or simply break even.
In a new report from Fidelity Investments, 55% of respondents surveyed state that they now accept any positive gains at all as an investing success, while another 23% believe that break-even investment returns can be considered a success in the current challenging market environment. The mind-numbing market swings that have ravaged portfolios since the market slide that began in the fall of 2008 now have investors re-evaluating their risk-tolerance levels and reconsidering their confidence in the stock market.
According to the survey, 40% of respondents said that they were seeking lower risk in their portfolio today as compared to two years ago, while roughly 20% said they have either pulled out of the market or stopped monitoring their investments altogether. This is hardly surprising, given that 41% of the trading days in the past two years have experienced at least a 100-point rise or fall in the closing price of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
While such volatility is enough to scare any investor, the survey also showed that many have begun adjusting to market uncertainty. Four out of 10 investors (43%) reported feeling confident in their investment decisions, and 22% said that they've adjusted to the new market conditions and are becoming more engaged in managing or monitoring their investments.
With 100-point market swings likely to continue, it's a good bet that investor returns in the future will be more closely tied to their ability to manage and monitor their portfolios.