Lessons from the market's last 3 years

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day in New York, N.Y.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: It was three years ago this Sunday the stock market hit an all-time high. On October 9, 2007, the Dow closed at 14,164. Fortune Magazine's Allan Sloan says there are lessons to be learned about expecting too much from the stock market. Good morning, Allan.

ALLAN SLOAN: Good morning, Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: Isn't it a little depressing to think about this anniversary given the roller-coaster ride the stock market's been on since?

SLOAN: Actually it's very depressing, it's not a little depressing. But it's also educational because life is educational. Because from this high from three years ago, the stock market proceeded to fall something more than 50 percent, then from the bottom is rose 75 percent, and now it's down roughly 25 percent. But you could've really gotten killed if you bought at the wrong time and made a fortune if you bought at the right time.

CHIOTAKIS: What impact -- speaking of which -- has the stock market drop had on the real world, Allan?

SLOAN: Well part of it is something like $5 trillion of wealth has been vaporized, which affects how people and businesses behave. And people are scared and are now seeking safety -- or what they think is safety -- from the stock market.

CHIOTAKIS: All right, so $5 trillion give or take. If there's been this flight to safety, as you say Allan among investors, where are they going?

SLOAN: Well it's a flight to what they think is safety, which is bonds. And to them I say, good luck because I think you're going to need it. Interest rates are now abnormally low and they're almost certain to rise. And if interest rates rise and you own bonds, your capital gets really whacked.

CHIOTAKIS: So Allan, you mentioned education at the outset. I mean, what lessons can we take away from the last three years?

SLOAN: The first lesson is even though almost over the long run stocks have returned almost 10 percent a year, the return is extremely lumpy and the market can be way up or way down for years at a time. The second lesson is that when you read the fine print and it says past performance is no guarantee of future performance, it's absolutely true.

CHIOTAKIS: Fortune Magazine's Allan Sloan with us. Allan, thank you so much.

SLOAN: You're welcome, Steve.

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