Average Return?

Spring 2021, by the CIO office (NBC)


Since the long-term historical average annual return on the stock market is ~10 %, investors should expect to see calendaryear returns near 10%. 


Quite the contrary, it is likely that investors will only rarely see a calendar year where equity returns are close to their long -term historical averages. Case in point: since 1957, only 8 years out of 63 have seen the Canadian stock market generate performance near average (+/ - 2%). 

One likely reason for this myth is the common misconception that "average" is synonymous with "typical" . However, there is no such thing as a "typical" year in the stock market.

As a result, investors should expect a wide range of possible outcomes in any given year, whereas only the passage of time can lead to an annualized return near the market's long-term average. 

(data via Refinitiv)

The information contained herein was obtained from sources we believe to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by us and may be incomplete. The opinions expressed are based on our analysis and interpretation of this information and are not to be construed as a solicitation or offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of National Bank Financial.


The securities or investment sectors mentioned herein are not suitable for all types of investors. Please consult your investment advisor to verify whether the securities or sectors suit your investor's profile as well as to obtain complete information, including the main risk factors, regarding those securities or sectors. This document is not a research analysis produced by the Research Department of National Bank Financial.


National Bank Financial is a subsidiary of National Bank of Canada. National Bank of Canada is a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA: TSX).

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