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Timing the Market: Why It’s So Hard, in One Chart

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Timing the Market: Why It's So Hard, in One Chart

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The Risks and Rewards of Timing the Market

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Timing the market seems simple enough: buy when prices are low and sell when they’re high.

But there is clear evidence that market timing is difficult. Often, investors will sell early, missing out on a stock market rally. It can also be unnerving to invest when the market is flashing red.

By contrast, staying invested through highs and lows has generated competitive returns, especially over longer periods.

The above graphic shows how trying to time the market can take a bite out of your portfolio value, using 20 years of data from JP Morgan.

The Pitfalls of Timing the Market

Mistiming the market even by just a few days can significantly affect an investor’s returns.

The following scenarios compare the total returns of a $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 between January 1, 2003 and December 30, 2022. Specifically, it highlights the impact of missing the best days in the market compared to sticking to a long-term investment plan.

Portfolio ValueAnnual Return (2003-2022)
Invested All Days$64,844+9.8%
Missed 10 Best Days$29,708+5.6%
Missed 20 Best Days$17,826+2.9%
Missed 30 Best Days$11,701+0.8%
Missed 40 Best Days$8,048-1.1%
Missed 50 Best Days$5,746-2.7%
Missed 60 Best Days$4,205-4.2%

As we can see in the above table, the original investment grew over sixfold if an investor was fully invested for all days.

If an investor were to simply miss the 10 best days in the market, they would have shed over 50% of their end portfolio value. The investor would finish with a portfolio of only $29,708, compared to $64,844 if they had just stayed put.

Making matters worse, by missing 60 of the best days, they would have lost a striking 93% in value compared to what the portfolio would be worth if they had simply stayed invested.

Overall, an investor would have seen almost 10% in average annual returns using a buy-and-hold strategy. Average annual returns entered negative territory once they missed the 40 best days over the time frame.

The Best Days in the Market

Why is timing the market so hard? Often, the best days take place during bear markets.

RankDateReturn
1Oct 13, 2008+12%
2Oct 28, 2008+11%
3Mar 24, 2020+9%
4Mar 13, 2020+9%
5Mar 23, 2009+7%
6Apr 6, 2020+7%
7Nov 13, 2008+7%
8Nov 24, 2008+7%
9Mar 10, 2009+6%
10Nov 21, 2008+6%

Over the last 20 years, seven of the 10 best days happened when the market was in bear market territory.

Adding to this, many of the best days take place shortly after the worst days. In 2020, the second-best day fell right after the second-worst day that year. Similarly, in 2015, the best day of the year occurred two days after its worst day.

Interestingly, the worst days in the market typically occurred in bull markets.

Why Staying Invested Benefits Investors

As historical data shows, the best days happen during market turmoil and periods of heightened market volatility. In missing the best days in the market, an investor risks losing out on meaningful return appreciation over the long run.

Not only does timing the market take considerable skill, it involves temperament, and a consistent track record. If there were bullet-proof signals for timing the market, they would be used by everyone.

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Markets

The World’s Biggest Fashion Companies by Market Cap

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is the industry’s biggest player by a wide margin.

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Bubble chart showing the world’s biggest fashion companies by market cap.

The World’s Biggest Fashion Companies by Market Cap

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Fashion is one of the largest industries globally, accounting for 2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

In this graphic, we use data from CompaniesMarketCap to showcase the world’s 12 largest publicly traded fashion companies, ranked by market capitalization as of Jan. 31, 2024.

LVMH Reigns Supreme

European countries dominate the list of the biggest fashion companies, with six in total. The U.S. boasts four companies, while Japan and Canada each have one.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is the industry’s biggest player by a wide margin. The company boasts an extensive portfolio of luxury brands spanning fashion, cosmetics, and liquor, including Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi, and Dior, the latter of which holds a 41% ownership stake in the global luxury goods company.

RankCountryNameMarket Cap (USD)
1🇫🇷 FranceLVMH421,600,000,000
2🇺🇸 United StatesNike153,830,000,000
3🇫🇷 FranceDior145,861,000,000
4🇪🇸 SpainInditex134,042,000,000
5🇺🇸 United StatesTJX Companies108,167,000,000
6🇯🇵 JapanFast Retailing81,489,917,976
7🇺🇸 United StatesCintas61,285,867,520
8🇨🇦 Canadalululemon57,267,998,720
9🇫🇷 FranceKering50,900,207,000
10🇺🇸 United StatesRoss Stores47,227,502,592
11🇩🇪 GermanyAdidas32,535,078,209
12🇸🇪 SwedenH&M25,564,163,571

As a result of the success of the company, in 2024, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault overtook Elon Musk as the richest person in the world.

In second place, Nike generated 68% of its revenue in 2023 from footwear. One of the company’s most popular brands, the Jordan Brand, generates around $5 billion in revenue per year.

The list also includes less-known names like Inditex, a corporate entity that owns Zara, as well as several other brands, and Fast Retailing, a Japanese holding company that owns Uniqlo, Theory, and Helmut Lang.

According to McKinsey & Company, the fashion industry is expected to experience modest growth of 2% to 4% in 2024, compared to 5% to 7% in 2023, attributed to subdued economic growth and weakened consumer confidence. The luxury segment is projected to contribute the largest share of economic profit.

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