A Wild and Crazy Start to 2016

It was the worst first week of the year for stocks — ever.

That’s what the record will reflect for 2016, as equity markets around the world got absolutely slaughtered over the first five trading sessions of the year.

Only a stabilization of markets in China leading up to Friday’s opening bell, along with a much-better-than-expected December jobs report, saved the market from more punishment on the week.

Still, as of midday Friday, the real hemorrhaging already had been done.

Check out these gruesome week-to-date numbers, as they pretty much say it all:

  • S&P 500 Index, -4.90%
  • Dow Jones Industrials, -5.14%
  • NASDAQ Composite, -6.15%
  • NASDAQ 100, -5.83%
  • Russell 2000, -6.78%

The only significant exceptions to the selling this week were in traditional flight-to-safety assets such as gold and U.S. Treasury bonds.

So, what does this wild and crazy start to the market mean for investors going forward?

Well, it means that just doing what you did last year will probably not be sufficient to reach your investing goals.

It also means you need to put the power of a proven plan on your side, a plan that gets you out of stocks during periods of acute and prolonged market stress — and back into stocks as they begin to regain their bullish mettle.

A plan like this is at the heart of my Successful ETF Investing newsletter, and it is that plan that has delivered outstanding returns for investors just like you for nearly four decades.

If this week’s selling isn’t enough to get you to put a plan in place, then I don’t know what will.

Fortunately, you can check out that plan today, and just in time to avoid any more damage to your hard-earned money.

The Power of “If–”

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…

— “If–” by Rudyard Kipling

Given the craziness in stocks this week, it seems more than just a little appropriate that we should reflect on the ultimate literary work for learning how to stay calm in the face of unknowns. For the full effect of Kipling’s reassurance, I recommend checking out his seminal poem, “If–”. I suspect you’ll find his advice more than just a little helpful.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Ask Doug.

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about the most important ETFs to keep your eye on this year. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below my Eagle Daily Investor commentary.