Individual Stocks

Individual Stocks: The Basics

Why do some experts believe the individual investor should avoid investing in individual stocks and mutual funds, and should rather invest in indexes such as the S&P 500?

In a recent article, Forbes cited a few studies that support the argument that we should avoid investing in individual stocks. In a study published by Dalbar, Inc. in 2003, researchers found that in looking at average annual returns from 1984 to 2002, the annual average return of the S&P 500 was 12.2%, while mutual fund managers achieved a 9.3% return during the same period. The article also cited an annual report issued by Standard & Poor’s, the S&P Indices Versus Active Funds Scorecard, finding that by mid-2012, 89.8% of all managed domestic (U.S.) funds failed to beat the performance of the benchmark S&P 500 Index. Furthermore, the scorecard reported that in 2009–2012, 73.2% of managers underperformed the Index, and in 2007–2012, 67.7% underperformed the Index.


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