So there you have it: The good, the bad and the quirky. Take them all together, and you still may not be able to foresee what will happen with the markets this year, but you'll have a lot to think about.
But instead of trying to predict what will happen in 2012, you may be better off following these tried-and-true investment strategies:
Diversify your holdings. By spreading your money among a wide range of investments, you can reduce the effects of volatility on your portfolio. Keep in mind, though, that diversification, by itself, can't guarantee profits or protect against loss.
Don't ignore your risk tolerance. If you worry excessively about market fluctuations, you may have too much risk in your portfolio, which means you may need to make some changes.
Always look at the "big picture." Financial markets will always fluctuate. But if you can keep your focus on your long-term objectives, and make decisions accordingly, you can avoid overreacting to short-term events.
Like other years, 2012 will bring with it periods of both turbulence and smooth sailing. But by making the right investment moves, you can still chart a course that can allow you to move ever closer to your future goals.
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Edward Jones Financial Adviser Michael Quinn submitted this column. Quinn's Edward Jones office is at 25 Railroad Square, Suite 201, Haverhill. He can be reached at 978-372-8453.