October 1, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) -- Investors looking at their 401(k) statements for the quarter that ended Tuesday may be tempted to bail out of stocks entirely.
Share prices are down and daily triple-digit swings in the Dow Jones industrials are almost the norm.
But by historical standards, the third quarter actually wasn't that bad and not even close to the worst ever. In fact, it's not even the worst quarter of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 4.4 percent in the third quarter, down 499.35 points, a smaller decline than the 7.6 percent and 7.4 percent drops in the first two quarters of the year.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 9 percent in the quarter versus drops of 9.9 percent and 3.2 percent in the first and second quarters.
Financial advisers note that those who ditch stocks now, in hopes of getting back in later, are locking in their losses.
History suggests those who try to time the market will fail and rob themselves of the chance to share in stocks' inevitable recovery.
(Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.)