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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

Which Retailers Operate in the Most Countries?

From fast-fashion giant H&M to Apple, we show the top retailers globally with the largest international presence.

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This treemap shows the top retailers operating in the most countries in 2023.

The Top Retailers Operating in the Most Countries

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.

Today, international expansion is a key growth strategy for the world’s top retailers as companies target untapped markets with the highest potential to drive revenue and profit streams.

While traditional retailers have sought out digital strategies as the industry evolves and consumer behaviors change, physical storefronts continue to be a dominant driver of retail sales. In 2023, brick-and-mortar sales comprised 81% of retail sales globally.

This graphic shows the top retailers operating in the most markets worldwide, based on data from the National Retail Federation.

Global Retailers With the Largest International Footprint

Here are the global retailers with the widest-reaching presence around the world in 2023:

RankingRetailerNumber of Countries of First-Party OperationHeadquarters
1H&M68🇸🇪 Sweden
2IKEA51🇳🇱 Netherlands
3Inditex45🇪🇸 Spain
4Decathlon34🇫🇷 France
5Carrefour32🇫🇷 France
6Sephora (LVMH)31🇫🇷 France
7Schwarz Group30🇩🇪 Germany
8Fast Retailing27🇯🇵 Japan
9Euronics International25🇳🇱 Netherlands
10Apple25🇺🇸 U.S.

Notably, eight of the top 10 companies with the widest market reach hail from Europe.

Fast-fashion giant H&M ranks first overall, with 4,454 stores across 68 countries last year. In 2023, the Swedish company earned $21.6 billion in revenues, with its largest markets by number of store locations being the U.S., Germany, and the UK. This year, it plans to open 100 new stores in growth markets, along with shutting down 160 stores in established locations, ultimately decreasing its global store count.

In second is IKEA, with a presence in 51 countries. Last year, the company expanded its footprint in India, launching its first store in the tech hub, Hyderabad. While the company has a broad international reach, its number of storefronts is a fraction of H&M, at 477 total stores worldwide.

Looking beyond the continent, Japan’s Fast Retailing is the top retailer in Asia, operating in 27 countries globally. As the parent company to fashion brand Uniqlo, it also stands as the seventh most valuable listed firm by market capitalization in the country.

Additionally, Apple is the sole American company to make this list, with storefronts in 25 countries. Overall, the company operates four types of retail stores: regular, AppleStore+, flagships, and flagship+. Regular stores often earn $40 million annually, while flagship+ stores typically earn more than $100 million.

By 2027, the company plans to build or remodel 53 stores globally, with the majority located in the U.S. and China.

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