Why Stocks Still Rock

Spencer Platt / AP

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

The facts tell the dismal story. In the 10 years ending Dec. 31, 2008, investors suffered a negative 3.15% real return in U.S. stocks, constituting the fourth worst 10-year period since 1871. Given the pummeling the stock market has taken this decade — even after this year's rally, the S&P 500 index remains 32% below its all-time high reached in October 2007 — many are now questioning whether stocks should be the cornerstone of investors' long-run portfolios.

But history shows that excellent returns are available to stockholders who survive such rough...

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