The average intra-year decline (1980-2010) for the S&P 500 (excluding dividends) is 14.3%. In 1980, for example, the intra-year decline was 17%, but for the year the Index was up 26%. (We are not predicting that the market will be up for the year, just pointing out that intra-year declines are surprisingly common, even in good years.)
Click picture to enlarge.
Equity markets are volatile. The pain of a 10% drop is deeper than the joy of a 10% rise. We must maintain a long-term outlook. For more perspective see last week's blog about Market Behavior. If all else fails, a little humor may help: