‘People tend to sell winners and hold losers’: 3 bad moves investors make when markets are volatile

Posted by Andrew Ruhland

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As it stands, the broad stock market hasn’t entered bear territory, defined as a 20% decline from recent highs. As of midday Tuesday, the S&P 500 was trading 18.5% below its January peak. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t experiencing your own personal version, especially if you own individual stocks or cryptocurrency.

“Technically we’re not in a bear market, but the average investor is in a bear market,” says Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. “The median stock is down 25%. Half the stocks in the Nasdaq have been cut in half. Investors feel like it’s a bear if they look at their portfolios.”

If you’ve made some speculative bets in your portfolio that look like losers lately, your situation may get worse. That’s because you may be prone to unconscious biases that guide your choices around your individual investments that could hurt your portfolio further, say behavioral finance experts.

“All of these investor biases tend to run into each other, but when markets get really volatile, some of them really stand out,” says Scott Nations, president of investment volatility analytics firm NationsShares and author of “The Anxious Investor.”…read more.