The talk of late has been focused on rising stock prices. The S&P 500 is already up 3.51% so far this year. If you consider that over the very long hall, US equities (over the last 100+ years) generate an average return equal to the yield on the 10-year treasury plus 5%. Since the 10-year treasury yields 2.5%, we might expect the S&P 500 to generate a total return of 7.5% in 2018. The 1 years implied volatility index is currently 15%. This tells us that there is a 68% chance the S&P500 will returns somewhere between -7.5% and 22.5%. The way the year is starting out, the equity markets may be on their way to the upper end of that range.
For those would simply buy a diversified stock fund or ETF for their equity exposure, looking at the performance of the broad averages is a good place to focus their attention. Those who actively manage their portfolios can and do look at the performance of the various sectors that make up the broad market averages.
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