Enduring themes for volatile times

February 14, 2018 | Mawer Print

Last Monday, after a lengthy period of strong performance, global equity markets stumbled with the S&P 500 down 7.8% and the S&P/TSX Composite down 6.6% from their highs in January.

While investor apprehension in this environment is understandable, volatility in markets is both normal and expected. Looking back through our Art of Boring archive, we were struck by the enduring relevance of not letting fear guide investor decision-making during jittery times. We were also buoyed to see reads from the current media waters encouraging the same.

Check out some of our past (but still relevant!) blog posts around the themes of risks and volatility, and additional thoughtful links from ‘elsewhere.’

From the Art of Boring archive:

The skier’s guide to portfolio risk management
Our CIO discusses the key tenets of risk management. 

Keeping your fixed-income fire extinguisher within reach
A good reminder that bonds are important to the overall risk profile of your portfolio.

Decision making in an uncertain world
Three key guiding principles on knowing when to act: ‘Bet’ only when you have an edge; diversify otherwise; and, realize that most of the time, you won’t have an edge.


Forbes – The only market volatility prediction you can count on
The only responsible prediction to be made about the market is that it’s “more likely to be volatile than not.” 

The Guardian – Test of nerve for markets as 10 years of cheap money come to an end
More around the effects of central banks and inflation from across the pond. The conclusion? Volatility is here to stay.

CBC News – New investors who thought markets only skyrocket learn a useful lesson: Don Pittis
A useful reminder that stock markets do not rise and fall in predictable patterns. Also, a recap on bear markets.


  • john wong 29/04/2018 5:45pm (2 years ago)

    Right now, investors are worried about how fast this economy will grow and how high will inflation be in 2018. Both are critical datapoints the federal reserve tracks in setting monetary policy. The higher the numbers, the more aggressive the feds will be in raising interest rates. That is why we don’t want a booming economy. We want a strong economy with GDP growing 3-4% with inflation at the fed targets of 2%. If we get this, higher earnings should follow which will support higher market indexes. It’s that simple. The only thing investors will need to worry about is excessive greed in the financial system, where a financial catastrophe occurs with one of the big institutions, or the feds over raising short-term interest rates, thereby killing economic growth. These were the main reasons for the bear markets during the 1980’s-2008. Keep your mind and body strong and manage risk accordingly.

    - John from

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