Les Fantasmes de la Bourse

Traditionnellement, la Bourse est performante. Dans Stocks for the Long Run (Des Actions à long terme), le livre avec lequel Jeremy Siegel connu un réel succès en 2002, l’auteur montre que la bourse américaine a rapporté 6,9 % par an en termes réels entre 1802 et 2001. Bien que les bénéfices aient varié selon les années, atteignant parfois des niveaux négatifs, dans l’ensemble les bonnes performances ont été assez régulières. Cette moyenne annuelle de 6,9 % de bénéfices est donc connue depuis sous le nom de « constante de Siegel », comme si M. Siegel avait là découvert une nouvelle loi de la nature.

L’idée que les actions rapporteront à l’avenir est fortement soutenue de nos jours, particulièrement par ceux qui essaient de vendre ces actions aux investisseurs. Aux États-Unis, la Commission pour renforcer la sécurité sociale, mise en place par le président George W. Bush, cite M. Siegel pour son argument selon lequel le gouvernement devrait encourager ses administrés à investir en bourse. M. Bush a voyagé dans tout le pays pour promouvoir un programme visant à instaurer des comptes de retraite personnels investissant en actions et en bonds. Ce programme prévoit un rendement réel de 6,5 % pour les actions, à peine moins que la constante de Siegel, pour les années à venir.

Pourtant, peu sont enclins à croire que la Bourse se portera aussi bien à l’avenir. M. Siegel lui-même projetait récemment une moyenne de 6 % pour les rendements réels des actions américaines pour les quarante prochaines années. Pour d’autres, les prévisions sont moins optimistes.

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