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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Busted
Patterns
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Market
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 06/21/2017
21,410 -57.11 -0.3%
9,293 -11.21 -0.1%
730 -4.82 -0.7%
6,234 45.92 0.7%
2,436 -1.42 -0.1%
YTD
8.3%
2.8%
10.7%
15.8%
8.8%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 06/15/2017
21,600 or 21,000 by 07/01/2017
9,100 or 9,600 by 07/01/2017
720 or 745 by 07/01/2017
6,300 or 6,000 by 07/01/2017
2,525 or 2,390 by 07/01/2017

Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.

This article discusses how long you need to hold onto a stock to make a profit, based on the performance of a market index.

 

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To make money, how long should you hold onto a stock? I'll give you the probabilities in a moment, but here's how I did it. I downloaded the daily, weekly, and monthly price data from yahoo finance using the S&P 500 index and then went to work. The data ranges from January 3, 1950 to April 13, 2010. For the computation, I used overlapping periods. For one year, as an example, I determined whether price closed higher from April 1, 2010 to May 1, 2009. Then I used the next month, March 1, 2010 to April 1, 2009, and so on. I summed the number of up closes compared to the number of samples and found the percentage.

In other words, I counted the number of times price closed higher for each period. The table below shows what I found.


Period
Percentage
Up Closes

Period
Percentage
Up Closes
Daily53%5 Years83%
Weekly56%6 Years86%
Monthly59%7 Years90%
1 Year71%8 Years91%
2 Years79%9 Years92%
3 Years83%10 Years92%
4 Years84%  

For example, if you bought the S&P 500 index and sold it a day later, you would have a 53% chance of making money -- all else being equal. If you hold onto the index for a week, the probability of a gain rises to 56%. Hold for 5 years, and the probability rises to 83%.

If you are having problems making money in this market, then consider holding longer. Or just buy low and sell high.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Menu: a list of dishes the restaurant has just run out of.