Very few things in life move in a perfectly linear manor.
The stock market is no different. Think of it as a feature of the system and not a bug, it can't be completely squashed.
This chart above shows the number of pullbacks in the S&P 500 price index going back to 1980. There have been 226 pullbacks, and in this case, a pullback is defined as a drop greater than or equal to 5% from a previous high. You'll notice, they are quite common. Investing in the stock market is inherently uncertain in the short-term. Large and small pullbacks can occur at any time...and do, quite regularly.
The market experiences several pullbacks each year with very few exceptions. Understanding and accepting this truth will go a long way in helping you build wealth.
So, what's my prediction for 2024? I'll step out on a limb, and say, "the market will be volatile."
-Paul R. Rossi, CFA