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Over the past few months, investors have had to deal with increased market volatility, a trend that could well persist for some time to come. As concerns continue to rise, the financial media will point to a number of possible contributing factors, including expected increases in inflation, the possibility of a trade war or that much-predicted market correction. Regardless of what’s causing the volatility, investors need to be aware of their options and the implications of their actions during these turbulent market conditions.
But what is volatility, really? By financial definition, it’s an arithmetic measure of the likelihood that a market security will increase or decrease in value within a short time period, which is a measure of standard deviation. Volatile markets, like the ones we’ve experienced recently, see a large amount of rapid price fluctuations along with a high volume of trading. The efficient market hypothesis tells us that fair market prices will adjust and correct in response to the release of new data and information, and that volatility is caused by changing investor opinion of the present value of securities in the market.
So how should an investor react under these conditions? While there’s no definitive answer suitable for all investors, there are a number of general guidelines, some of which are as follows:
Investors should be aware that there are risks inherent in all investments, such as fluctuations in investment principal and with any investment vehicle, past performance is not a guarantee of future results. The information discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. Individual situations can vary, and the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.
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