Getting reacquainted with risk

After a long period of relative calm in the markets, it's a good time to reassess risk.

Ben Johnson, CFA 19 June, 2018 | 5:00PM

Do you remember what risk feels like? While the market has hit a pothole or two during the current bull run, the ride has generally been smooth. Many--myself included--probably have a hard time remembering just how nerve-wracking the last bear market was.

Below, I've included a plot of the trailing three-year standard deviation of the S&P 500 from March 1939 through the end of April 2018. At present, this measure of stock market volatility has been trending below its long-term average for 68 months.

This marks the third-longest stretch of below-average volatility for the index dating back to 1939. The next-longest period lasted 75 months, from March 1956 through May 1962. So the current streak is unprecedented in the experience of most investors.

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About Author

Ben Johnson, CFA

Ben Johnson, CFA  Ben Johnson, CFA, is director of global ETF research for Morningstar and editor of Morningstar ETFInvestor, a monthly newsletter.

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