Markets

Op-Ed: Market Pundits Are Predicting Average Returns for 2022. Here's Why Investors Should Be Wary

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  • Market strategists are about to start rolling out their forecasts for next year’s performance, and most are likely to predict a return of 8% to 10%.
  • Since 1930, the S&P 500 has averaged 9.79% per year, but average isn’t synonymous with typical. Over those 90 one-year periods, the broad-market index has only returned between 8% to 12% four times.
  • In the approaching new year, anticipate volatility and a new set of worries for investors. Don't expect 10% returns.

Investors are about to be besieged with financial soothsayers predicting returns for 2022.  

My guess is after the more than 16% in annualized gains from the S&P 500 over the past 3, 5 and 10 years, most will predict that markets will return more in line with the "average" long-term return of 8% to 10%. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are at their top decile of 10-year returns historically and have annualized about 20% and 16%, respectively.

We believe that mean reversion exists, especially in finance, and would also expect lower returns longer term, but we will leave predictions for 2022's returns to "the experts."

Since 1930, the S&P 500 has averaged 9.79% per year. But is that average return typical? You might be surprised by the answer. Over those 90 one-year periods, the S&P 500 has only returned between 8% to 12% four times. That's less than 5% of the time. Yet year after year, analysts tell investors to expect the average.

The average return of the market is rarely earned in any one year. What is typical is a wide range of returns that will challenge investors in bad years and reward them in good ones. Expect volatility, expect a new set of worries the market will have to obsess over and overcome, but don't expect 10%.

Bryn Talkington is a managing partner of Requisite Capital Management. She is also a trader on "Halftime Report" and a CNBC contributor. Her areas of expertise include all facets of asset management with a focus on capital markets, alternatives and investor behavior.

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