Fantasías sobre el mercado de valores

Históricamente, el mercado de valores ha tenido buenos resultados. En su célebre libro, publicado en 2002, Stocks for the Long Run , Jeremy Siegel muestra que el mercado americano de valores tuvo unos beneficios de 6,9 por ciento al año en términos reales entre 1802 y 2001. Aunque los beneficios variaron según los decenios e incluso resultaron negativos en algunos de ellos, en conjunto sus resultados fueron bastante constantes. Desde entonces se ha denominado ese 6,9 por ciento de beneficios anuales la “constante de Siegel”, como si este autor hubiera descubierto una nueva ley de la naturaleza.

La idea de que los valores tendrán buenos resultados en el futuro tiene muchos promotores en la actualidad, en particular entre quienes intentan vender inversiones en valores. En los Estados Unidos, la Comisión para fortalecer la Seguridad Social del Presidente George W. Bush citó a Siegel para respaldar su afirmación de que el Gobierno debe alentar a los ciudadanos a que inviertan en acciones. Bush ha recorrido el país para promover un plan encaminado a crear cuentas personales de jubilación invertidas en acciones y bonos. El plan da por descontado un beneficio del 6,5 por ciento de las acciones -ligeramente inferior a la constante de Siegel- en futuros decenios.

Pero la mayoría de la gente no cree que el mercado de valores vaya a tener tan buenos resultados en el futuro. El propio Siegel predijo sólo un 6 por ciento de beneficios reales para los valores de los Estados Unidos en los cuatro próximos decenios. Otros tienen esperanzas inferiores.

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