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At Risk Shaken up by market volatility? That wake-up call can help you hone your investment strategy.

By Dian Vujovich

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thank heaven for volatile markets. They teach newcomers, andremind not-so-new investors, that stock prices don't always goup. And believe it or not, that's a good thing.

If you looked at mutual-fund performance at the end of the firstquarter 2000, you might have thought the bulls planned on stayingin charge on Wall Street. But after weeks of market swings and bigtech hits, the story's different: On March 31, the averagestock fund was up more than 7 percent for the year, but by April27, that gain had shrunk to 2.8 percent, according to fund analystLipper Inc.

Losing money is never fun, but it's the reality of investingin mutual funds.

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