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Was 2023 a Good Year to Sell Your Stocks?

Was 2023 a Good Year to Sell Your Stocks?

February 15, 2024

Investors sold stocks in 2023 and missed out on significant gains, writes Peter Watson.

Should you have sold your stock holdings last year?

Consider significant world events because many investors use that information as an indicator of how to invest.

If bad news is a reason to get out of stocks, we had plenty of warning signs to caution against risking your money in stocks during 2023.

Stock returns referred to in this column are from the MSCI All Country World IMI Index, 2023. The index covers approximately 85 per cent of global investable equity opportunities according to its website.

Russia had invaded Ukraine. Interest rates were high and during the year several additional interest-rate hikes occurred. Plus, there were some significant bank failures in the United States and Europe.

Despite what can be interpreted as a gloomy investment environment world stock had a steady increase in value until midsummer.

Then a major credit rating firm lowered the US credit rating. World stock values started to decline until early October when the war in Gaza started. By the end of October stock values had declined significantly.

By this time even those more positive about investing in stocks must have had doubts. The last two months of the year saw significantly sharp increases in stock values.

In summary, 2023 was a year we had lots to worry about. But despite the doom and gloom the world stock market appreciated in value by 22 per cent during the year.

Some investors will have profited, and others unfortunately will have panicked and sold. According to the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, last year investors sold stocks and purchased bonds and money market.

Stock market returns are volatile. If you invest in the long term, be patient and wait for returns to occur.

Peter Watson, of Watson Investments MBA, CFP®, R.F.P., CIM®, FCSI offers a weekly financial planning column, Dollars & Sense. He can be contacted through