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It is a sad fact of financial life, and one well documented, that investors often chase performance. They give up on disappointing asset classes, selling out only after taking substantial losses, in order to buy into more recent winners, too often only after those winners have made a good part of their ultimate gains. It is this well-established historical pattern that points to a coming enthusiasm about equities.

For quite some time now, investors have turned away from stocks. Despite periods of strength, two powerful bear markets, one in the opening years of this century and the other between 2007 and 2009, marred the long-term average performance figures of U.S. equities. Since so many investors draw their perceptions of future possibilities from historical performance calculations, the disappointing returns have raised many doubts about the role of equities in fundamental asset allocations.

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