The rally that began around Christmas Eve continued with strength through last week.
It’s been such a strong rally that U.S. large company stocks (as measured by the S&P 500 index) even eclipsed the prior record high from last September…admittedly, an event of which I was skeptical.
Specifically, on September 21st the S&P 500 set a new intra-day high at $2,940.91. However, last Wednesday the S&P 500 touched $2,954.13 before closing down to $2,923.17. As I write this commentary on May 6th, the S&P 500 is trading around $2,910.
Now, unfortunately, the S&P 500 was the only major index to set a new high. U.S. small company stocks (Russell 2000) are still down over 8% from their August 31st record. The global stock market more broadly, including foreign developed and emerging markets (MSCI All Cap World Index), is still down over 6% from it’s all-time high set almost 16 months ago on January 26th, 2018. Yes, the global stock market is still technically in a bear market.
Here is the interesting part, when reviewing one of the most reliable valuations metrics available from John Hussman, we find that the U.S. stock market has experienced current extremes only two other times in history (1) 1929: on the eve of the Great Depression and (2) 2000 – on the eve of the Dot Com Bubble burst. Neither of those events ended well, and I don’t expect the current dislocation to end well either. Continue reading “Market Update – Only Two Other Times in History”
The stock market is experiencing quite a rally this month. So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the last five bear markets to check (a) if rallies have been common within past bear markets, (b) how long bear market rallies typically last, and (c) the average magnitude of bear market rallies.
Executive Summary: Every single one of the last five bear markets going back to 1973 included at least one rally of 10% or more before the market fell further. The average bear market rally since 1973 has been about 15% and lasted about 1.5 months on average. The rally we’re currently experiencing has produced about a 12.1% increase over the last three weeks.
Continue reading “Bear Market Rallies in Context”
You may have noticed larger price swings in the market over the last couple months. Another term for this is “volatility.”
Increasing volatility is normal as markets transition from up-trends (bull markets) to down-trends (bear markets). And, actually, large price swings IN BOTH DIRECTIONS are characteristic of bear markets.
Now, it’s reasonable to expect to see most of the worst daily returns in history during bear markets. However, what I found far more interesting when doing my analysis is that most of the best daily returns also occur during bear markets. In fact, eight out of the ten best days in the market (1950 – 2018) occurred during bear markets! Continue reading “Bigger Price Swings in Both Directions”
I think it’s important for investors to understand the historical behavior of the investments they hold in their portfolios. This understanding helps investors maintain realistic expectations of their investments going forward (both good and bad), invest more appropriately, and remain disciplined through up and down years. “Remaining disciplined” means not chasing returns in good years while not fleeing your strategy in bad years. Continue reading “Bond and Stock Behavior Throughout History”