The world of finance could not function without tools for interpreting data. One such tool, the well-known Callan chart (known formally as the Periodic Table of Investment Returns by Callan Associates) offers an incredibly valuable visual depiction of the year-to-year performance of various asset classes.

It provides an easy-to-understand snapshot that makes a couple of key points: Past performers seldom repeat in a logical pattern. And there is no discernible pattern that would allow an investor to pick the next year's winner.

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