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Q&A: When Market Timers Succeed

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:09:53 GMT

Recently, I've heard some say "I got out of the market in May 2008 and I am sure glad I did." Given the obviously positive results of this decision, what is the best argument to convince people that buy and hold is better than timing the market? EFF: Wins and losses from market timing bets are both just unpredictable chance outcomes, and good luck is, of course, better than bad luck. The problem with market timing is that you may be out of the market in periods of strong returns. KRF: There is a large academic literature on whether market returns are predictable. The general conclusion is that it is impossible to predict the market return with any confidence... "A Comprehensive Look at the Empirical Performance of Equity Premium Prediction," by Amit Goyal and Ivo Welch (Review of Financial Studies, 2008), is a good summary of the evidence. (Read the full entry)