As S&P Sits at Cusp of Bear Market, Where’s the Bottom?

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

Number of the Day

That's how many days it’s taken for the S&P 500 Index to bottom out during past bear markets, suggesting the stock benchmark’s latest downward trajectory—just 133 days so far—could last months longer.

While the S&P 500 hasn’t officially fallen 20% from its Jan. 3 record high (the sign of being in a bear market,) it feels like it could be any day now, making the next question just how much lower the index may go before things begin to improve. 

If history is any indicator, investors aren’t even halfway through the S&P’s bad run, according to a recent Bank of America analysis. In the 19 bear markets over the past 140 years, not only did it take an average of 289 days to fall from its highest to lowest point, but the drop was an average of 37.3%, the analysis shows. That same pattern this time around would mean we reach a bottom of 3,000 on Oct. 19. (On Monday, the S&P fell 0.4% to 4,008.01, down 16.4% from the Jan. 3 high of 4,796.56.) 

A bear market is worse than a market correction, which is a 10% drop from a recent high. 

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Terry at tlane@thebalance.com.

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