…when it comes to investing, stock market behavior that is described as cyclical is more akin to the irregular short-term variations in the number of sunspots above or below their usual 11-year pattern. While the long-term record of stock prices has clearly been upward, there have been many fluctuations around the long-term trend that were caused by temporary factors. The long-term upward trend has been driven by a growing economy enabled by advances in science, medicine, technology and education, so this trend makes logical sense. Short-term stock price swings above and below the long-term trend are frequently driven by emotional overreactions to transitory occurrences, so these variations are often anything but logical. Many investors have put their understanding of long-term economic growth to work through patient, long-term investing and have achieved remarkable success. On the other hand, other people have tried to understand or predict emotionally-driven short-term market swings, but we know of none who have succeeded with sufficient long-term consistency to rival the results achieved by patient, long-term investors.