Smiling woman on smartphone, holding pen.
Investing strategies

Financial markets

As an investor, you'll probably be a little more interested in what's going on in the markets and how it could potentially impact your portfolio.
4 minute read

Points to know

  • The main markets you'll hear about are stock markets, but bond markets are sometimes newsworthy as well.
  • If you own a generous portion of stocks, you'll probably see a correlation between the behavior of the stock market and your account balance.

What's a "market," anyway?

While listening to business reports on the news, you might hear something like, "The markets were up today" or "A market plunge continued for the third day in a row." What does this mean?

"Market" is a term that, loosely defined, means "the buying and selling of related securities." You could talk about "the stock market" and mean "all stocks traded in the United States," for example.

Most excitement—and fear—relates to the stock market because stocks can increase or decrease in value very quickly. But there are bond markets too.

Find out more about stock markets

Find out more about bond markets

Understand the major U.S. economic reports

If you own a broadly diversified portfolio that includes stocks from all segments of the U.S. market, increases in the market will likely translate into increases in your balance. Of course, the reverse is also true.

It's the relationship between what's reported on the news and what happens to your personal finances that makes following the markets so irresistible.

But don't get too caught up in day-to-day financial market news. Over long periods of time, ups and downs tend to smooth out.

See how risk, reward & time are related


Read our white papers delving into specific trends in the global economy.

Examine global economic trends

Saving for retirement or college?

See guidance that can help you make a plan, solidify your strategy, and choose your investments.

Already know what you want?

From mutual funds and ETFs to stocks and bonds, find all the investments you're looking for, all in one place.

Get more from Vanguard

Talk with one of our investment specialists

Call 855-850-6972

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time

Ready to start?

Get more from Vanguard

Talk with one of our investment specialists

Call 800-962-5028

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time

Ready to start?

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Advice services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or by Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited-purpose trust company.

Bonds are subject to the risk that an issuer will fail to make payments on time and that bond prices will decline because of rising interest rates or negative perceptions of an issuer's ability to make payments. Investments in bonds are subject to interest rate, credit, and inflation risk.

Investments in stocks or bonds issued by non-U.S. companies are subject to risks including country/regional risk and currency risk.