Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: EPA/Justin Lane

The top 20 earned $15 billion last year; the rest of the industry lost $99 billion

 Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: EPA/Justin Lane

Declining stocks are part and parcel of market reality. What lessons can we learn?

The bull and bear statues outside the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

Stocks have endured a torrid start to 2016, fuelling talk that the seven-year bull market is on its last legs, but market indicato(...)

“Apple may well prove a value trap – who knows? – but the notion ‘value stocks in tech just do not work’ is pure fiction.” Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Apple going cheap, January lows and judging the rest of the year on the first week

Wall Street strategists are as likely to underestimate bull markets as they are to overestimate bear markets. Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

There’s little reason to have faith in market strategists’ 2016 predictions

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett: shares in Berkshire Hathaway fell 11 per cent last year. Photograph: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Warren Buffett’s bad year, hometown bias and analysts still ‘optimistically wrong’

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade recently.  Photograph: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Selling too early, a fun Christmas letter and yes, there is such a thing as a Santa rally

A specialist trader looks at his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Mergers and acquisitions, which totalled $4.6tn in 2015, can be indicative of froth

A trader looks at his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years

Workers at an Amazon warehouse: the company, one of the so-called four ‘fang stocks’, is a major reason why the S&P 500 was in the black in 2015.  Photograph: REUTERS/Fred Greaves

Concern is growing that a handful of stocks are keeping the S&P 500 afloat

A look around the world’s financial markets

Actual investor returns, one study concluded, are “systematically lower than buy-and-hold returns for nearly all international stock markets”.   Photograph:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Research indicates closing the behaviour gap – the tendency for investors to underperform the funds they are invested in – is cruc(...)

Janet Yellen, chairman of the US Federal Reserve: Recent strong jobs numbers mean a December rate hike now looks a safe bet. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Farewell to the Brics, morality and the hedge fund manager and exploiting inattention

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: even novice investors can grasp the simple logic underpinning the case for diversification. Photograph: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The level of risk and reward you experience is a function of portfolio scale and variety

Fed chairman Janet Yellen: last week’s unexpectedly hawkish  message means a December hike is now seen as a 50/50 bet. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Corrections are unavoidable and using Twitter as an investment guide

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: between 1968 and 1994, value stocks consistently and easily beat growth stocks in the US. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Glamour stocks have outperformed them in recent years but the cycle may be turning

Upbeat investors shrug off weak data

‘Valuations aside, market history does not suggest rising rates need prove disastrous for stocks.’ photograph: getty

History indicates stocks tend not to be impacted until late in the rate-hiking cycle, but analysts caution the current monetary en(...)

A Specialist Trader looks at his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A look around the world’s stock markets

Correlations always spike in times of perceived crisis

A look around the world’s stock markets

Winners and losers: “The more often people look at their portfolios, the less willing they will be to take on risk, because if you look at it more often, you will experience more lossesm” says Richard Thaler. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Richard Thaler’s book ‘Misbehaving’ is a must-read for investors and non-investors

The odds of a US Fed rate increase hit 54 per cent in early August before plunging to 24 per cent three weeks later, following the sudden upsurge in volatility. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Fed can show it is not governed by stock markets – but it’d be shocking if it did

 The New York Stock Exchange:  last Tuesday, 499 S&P 500 stocks declined, the second-highest reading since 1996. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Recent bearishness resembles levels seen near the bottom of past corrections

Stocks have delivered average annual returns of more than 9 per cent [since 1945], but you don’t get to collect those returns if you bail out every time markets get the jitters. Photograph: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

Fear sells newspapers but investors should not pay attention to the apocalyptic headlines

Market panics are unnerving, but they’re also times of great opportunity

 An information board shows the decline of the German DAX to a one-year low at the stock exchange in Frankfurt: Germany’s stock markets, among other international markets, have fallen into bear markets. Photograph:  Christoph Schmidt/EPA

While the correction is severe, investors will know the rewards of enduring short-term turmoil

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Google’s Sundar Pichai: it appears that seemingly minor details, ranging from a person’s economic background to whether or not he has a daughter, can be predictive of a chief executive’s tenure

The most minor details can tell a great deal about how a chief executive will perform, research suggests

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently changed their recommendation for Apple stock from “buy” to “neutral,” and lowered their target share price from $142 to $130. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

How low can gold go?

How will markets go? Forecaster Robert Prechter warned that the Dow Jones would fall below 1,000 in 2010 – it has spent most of 2015 around the 18,000 level. Photograph: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

A general rule of thumb: the most confident are the least accurate, according to research

The growth rate in Twitter users has fallen in every quarter since Twitter’s market debut 21 months ago.

Microblogging provider remains a no-no among both value and momentum investors

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: if markets are going up, it’s better to put your money to work right away to take full advantage of the market growth. Photograph: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Averaging into markets over time with euro-cost averaging holds psychological appeal

 A pedestrian passes a display showing Chinese stock at a securities office in Tokyo, Japan. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

A man enters the old stock exchange building in central Athens. Greek stocks have suffered an almighty collapse, falling by 85 per cent since 2007. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

There is a lot to be learned about the ups and downs of investing from what has been happening in Greece

Exchange-traded funds are similar to ordinary funds in that they provide access to a basket of stocks. However, they trade like stocks and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day. Photograph: Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Exchange-traded funds have revolutionised the investing world but some say they have yet to be tested in times of crisis

An anti-EU protester burns an EU flag in front of the European Comission offices in Athens on July 2. Photograph: AFP PHOTO / Louisa Gouliamaki

The latest trends in stock markets

US funds spent 18 times as much money in 2005 as they did in 2009, following the market crash.  Photograph: Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Some fund managers who can’t beat the market employ practices that are ‘not very pretty’

Beating the market four or five years in a row may seem like a conclusive demonstration of investment skill, but it may well be all down to luck. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Financial products promising outperformance may be based on ‘false’ research

An elderly man looks at rising stocks in green at the Stock Exchange in Athens. Photograph: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Investors look at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai. Photograph: REUTERS/Aly Song

China finds itself in a massive equity bubble but some analysts worry it may all end in tears

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

There are concerns markets are increasingly being moved by computer algorithms rather than by any fundamental catalyst, resulting in increased volatility and potentially causing instability or even crashes. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto There are concerns markets are increasingly being moved by computer algorithms rather than by any fundamental catalyst, resulting in increased volatility and potentially causing instability or even crashes. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Market prices increasingly driven by computer algorithms, research indicates

Safety in numbers? Investors aren’t helped by an alarmist media and a short-termist analyst culture. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Investors ‘are elated when stock prices rise and depressed when they fall’, as Warren Buffett once said, but they should be chee(...)

A Hanergy exhibition stand at a Clean Energy Expo in Beijing recently:  China’s Hanergy Thin Film Power Group is under investigation by Hong Kong’s market watchdog,  after the company lost half its market value of nearly $40 billion in 24 minutes on May 20, 2015. Photograph:  REUTERS

Carnage in China, a US rally and catch-up in Europe?

Airlines have been one of the worst-performing sectors in the US since the 1970s while railroads have outperformed airlines, road transport stocks and the overall US market since 1970. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Declining industries may be good investments while treat up-and-coming sectors with caution

Proinsias O’Mahony on the latest moves in stock markets

NYSE traders: Evidence is mounting that many high-fee funds that purport to be active are just closet index trackers. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Unskilled ‘index huggers’ drag down performance record as highly active funds have actually outperformed by 2.9% in current market(...)

Nothing exemplifies the recent market madness in China better than the case of online video stock Beijing Baofeng Technology.  Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

 London’s Canary Wharf: the UK stock market has been relatively calm in recent months.  Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

UK stocks have performed better under Conservative governments, but studies indicate that investors need not lose sleep over a cha(...)

Outside Tokyo Stock Exchange: Japanese November-April stock market returns typically exceed May-October by 8.3 percentage points annually.  Photograph: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Studies show markets tend to stagnate in summer, but why they do is still a puzzle

‘Oil continues to look cheap compared to stocks. The ratio between the S&P 500 and US crude oil hit a 13-year high last month, Merrill Lynch noted recently.’ Photograph:  China Newsphoto/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay: short-sellers tend to get a bad press but their defenders point to their exposure of questionable practices at companies like Enron. Photograph: Dave Einsel/Getty Images

They are usually discreet, but a new breed of activist short sellers say they are out to expose financial corruption

A look at the ups and downs of international stock markets

Photograph:  REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Since 2009’s market bottom, earnings have soared but actual sales growth has been relatively modest. Increased profits have been made possible by record profit margins of 9.2 per cent.  Photograph:  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Office of Financial Research says US markets overpriced and heading for trouble

The FTSE 100 recently rose above the 7,000 mark for the first time and hit a new record high, but all-time highs are common and not a sign of irrational exuberance. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Stock picking: ETFs offer investors the ability to assemble a low-cost, diversified portfolio but their convenience tempts investors to partake in the trading game in which the only sure winners are the brokers and dealers of Wall Street. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Do exchange-traded funds actually tempt investors into trading too much?

A look at the ups and downs of international stock markets

With US government bonds yielding more than 2 per cent compared to infinitesimal rates almost everywhere else, investors have been busy selling euros to buy dollars. photograph: getty With US government bonds yielding more than 2 per cent compared to infinitesimal rates almost everywhere else, investors have been busy selling euros to buy dollars. Photograph: Getty

Dollar’s relentless rise is triggered by US economic strength and the ECB’s devaluation strategies

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Even seemingly minor hikes can have major consequences

NYSE traders: stocks can underperform for long periods.. Photograph:  Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Research from the money manager suggests even the world’s best-performing portfolios can be undone by inattention to fees

Party’s over: The Nasdaq lost 78 per cent of its value in the years following 2000. Illustration: Steve Lopez/Bay Area News Group/MCT via Getty Images

The bubble burst in March 2000, proving that sometimes investors go bananas and rationality goes out the window

Trader Fred DeMarco watches a screen as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange: The longer you hold equities, the greater your chances of a decent return. But how long is necessary? Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Warren Buffett:  a born investor who accumulated a $73 billion fortune while remaining indifferent to the trappings of wealth. Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Self-effacing and frugal, the €73 billion man is a maverick in the world of markets

The outperformance of sin stocks – tobacco, alcohol, gambling and arms – appears to be a global phenomenon

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

German bourse trader Matthias Praeger looks up to check his monitors as he sits in front of the German share price index DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony assesses if European equities are really good for further gains

NYSE traders: Critics say cap-weighted indices run the risk of significant declines if a handful of constituent stocks tumble and that tracker funds will end up being too invested in overpriced stocks, and too little in underpriced stocks. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Hybrid approach aims to combine the best parts of active and passive investing

US stocks gained last week, but it has been an iffy 2015 for the S&P 500, which has badly underperformed other developed markets. Photograph: by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Checking Japan’s Nikkei: buying unpopular stocks on the Japanese index between 1981 and 2010 returned 13.6 per cent annually, compared with a meagre 3.97 per cent for the overall market. Photograph: Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

It usually pays to buy what’s unloved and steer clear of the flavour of the month

A plastic bull figurine, symbol of the Frankfurt stock exchange is pictured in front of the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Swiss National Bank’s decision to end the Swiss franc’s peg with the euro has resulted in the euro falling as much as 41 per cent against the franc.  Photograph: Thomas Hodel/Reuters

No amount of risk management could have saved traders

In the US, almost $92 billion was withdrawn from active funds last year, while passive funds attracted inflows of $156 billion. In the UK, money flowed into passive funds but more than $17 billion was pulled from active funds. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Active funds will have to prove their worth or risk being overtaken by the passive trend

Traders  on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Proinsias O’Mahony takes a look at the ups and downs of the stock market

Under review: NYSE traders consider the stock market which sceptics say is due a serious decline. Photograph: Brendan McDermid

An increasing number of strategists believe we are in a secular bull market, with any decline likely to prove fleeting

Proinsias O’Mahony looks at what’s been happening and what might happen

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange look forward to 2015. PHOTOGRAPH: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS

Learn from the experts and you can be a more effective investor

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Momentum can drive markets, but a value-based approach also matters

Stocks soared after Federal Reserve said it would be ‘patient’ with hike rates

On a high: the continued advance of equities means one influential strategist sees almost no value in the US market and precious little elsewhere.Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Investment managers are struggling to give advice as even emerging markets don’t look attractive

One-product wonder: the main risk for Apple is an over-reliance on one product (the iPhone), which accounts for 54 per cent of total revenues. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Having become the first company to be valued at more than $700bn, Apple bulls have their eyes on the trillion-dollar milestone

Nobel economist Robert Shiller’s Yale International Centre for Finance find confidence among individual investors, as measured by the percentage believing stocks will be higher in a year’s time, is at an all-time low. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Investors believe stocks are more expensive than any time since 2001

Outside the NYSE on Wall Street: Traders and investors alike continue to eulogise the fictionalised biography of legendary Wall Street speculator Jesse Livermore in Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

74 years after his death, Jesse Livermore’s Wall Street reflections continue to exert influence

Nasdaq eyes dotcom peak, firing the top performers and the S&P 500 has tripled since March 2009

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