That’s all it took for the S&P 500 to fall 30% from its record high, the fastest drop of this magnitude in history.
The second, third and fourth quickest 30% pullbacks all occurred during the Great Depression era in 1934, 1931 and 1929, respectively, according to data from Bank of America Securities.
“This is not good company for 2020,” Stephen Suttmeier, the bank’s technical research strategist, said in a note on Monday. “The 2020 correction continues to make history, having already claimed the title as the third fastest end to a bull market going back to 1928.”
The S&P 500 tanked nearly 15% last week alone, pushing the benchmark 32% below its all-time high reached on Feb.19. Investors continued to dump equities at a rapid pace as they feared that the economic fallout from the coronavirus outpaced the actions from global central banks and governments.
Losses continued Monday.
“More onerous” than a recession
With a decline of such extreme speed, some on Wall Street believe investors are projecting a scenario even worse than a recession, warning there could be more pain ahead before the market reaches a turning point.
“At Friday’s new low of 2,305, the S&P 500 was on the cusp of exiting recession pricing and baking in a more onerous scenario,” Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC, said in a note on Monday.
Calvasina noted the recent price action in the S&P 500 resembled the path at the heart of the financial crisis in 2008. If the benchmark stays on its current trajectory, history suggests that it could bottom in the 1,600 – 1,800 range before turning higher, Calvasina said.
Stocks fell again on Monday even after the Federal Reserve pledged asset purchases with no limit to support the markets amid the coronavirus pandemic. Investors awaited lawmakers to agree to a much-needed stimulus deal to rescue the economy.
“Do not believe that any equity market stabilization is a sign of an investable bottom in US stocks since history strongly suggests otherwise and we are mindful that 2020 is running the 2008 Playbook at double/triple time,” DataTrek Research founder Nick Colas, said in a note. “The next flush down could, in other words, be days rather than weeks away.”
Goldman Sachs also warned that the sell-off will get worse before it gets better, as investors’ equity allocation is still above the previous market bottoms in 2001 and 2008.
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