Going for Growth, Income, or Stability The return and principal value of stocks fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investments seeking to achieve higher returns also involve a higher degree of risk. Rates of return will vary over time, especially for long-term investments. Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. As interest rates rise, bond prices typically fall. Bonds not held to maturity may be worth more or less than their original cost. The Rear-View Mirror: Twenty Years of Historical Perspective By looking at the past, you can compare how different types of investments have performed in different economic periods and in relation to one another. In the accompanying graph, notice how the investment categories with the highest returns have also experienced the most volatility. Of course, remember that past performance does not guarantee future results. • A $10,000 investment in large-cap stocks on January 1, 2003, would have grown to $64,844 by December 31, 2022. The same $10,000 invested in small-cap stocks would have grown to $75,495. • During the same time period, a $10,000 investment in Treasury bonds would have reached $20,332, compared with $23,074 for a similar investment in corporate bonds.