March 20, 2022

The Randomness of Global Stock Returns

It is difficult to predict future returns by looking at the past, as shown by the performance of global markets since 2001.

  • This table powerfully demonstrates the randomness of global equity returns. It illustrates 20 years of annual returns in 22 developed markets. Each color represents a different country. Each column is sorted top down, from the highest-performing country to the lowest.
  • The scattered colors suggest it is hard to predict which country will outperform from one year to the next. Austria, for example, posted the highest developed market return in 2017 but the lowest the next year.
  • Investors holding equities from markets around the world can have a more consistent investment experience, with higher returns in one market helping offset lower returns elsewhere.