By Kevin Theissen
The COVID-19 outbreak has put tremendous pressure on stock prices, prompting some investors to blindly and indiscriminately sell positions at a time when the entire market is trending lower. Worried investors believe “this time it’s different.” When the market drops, some investors lose perspective that downtrends, and uptrends, are part of the investing cycle. When stock prices break lower, it’s a good time to review common terms that are used to describe the market’s downward momentum.
A pullback represents the mildest form of a selloff in the markets. You might hear an investor or trader refer to a dip of 5-10% after a peak as a “pullback.”
The next degree in severity is a “correction.” If a market or markets retreat 10% to 20% after a peak, you’re in correction territory. At this point, you’re likely on guard for the next tier.
In a bear market, the decline is 20% or more since the last peak.
All of this is normal
Pullbacks, corrections, and bear markets are a part of the investing cycle. When stock prices are trending lower, some investors can second-guess their risk tolerance. But periods of market volatility can be the worst times to consider portfolio decisions.
Pullbacks and corrections are relatively common and represent something that any investor may see from time to time in their financial life, often several times over the course of a decade. Bear markets are much rarer. What we are experiencing now represents the start of the ninth bear market since 1926. This bear market follows the longest bull market on record.
How is this bear market going to affect me?
It’s a good question, but it’s something that you won’t fully understand in the here and now. The average bear market lasts 146 days for the Standard & Poor’s 500.
A sound retirement strategy has market volatility factored in and at times you will also want to make minor adjustments to optimize opportunities.
Kevin Theissen is the owner of HWCFinancial.