S&P 500 Briefly Plunges Into Bear Market As Stocks Fall For Seventh Week In A Row

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The stock market tanked on Friday, adding to heavy losses this week that pushed the S&P 500 into a bear market, down over 20% from its intraday peak in January as investors continue to get whipsawed by concerns about inflationary pressures and rising rates.

Key Facts

The selloff on Wall Street continued with a vengeance: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4%, over 400 points, while the S&P 500 lost 1.8% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite 2.5%.

Amid one of its worst starts to a year on record, the S&P 500 plunged into a bear market on Friday—down over 20% from its intraday record high in January—and is on pace for its seventh straight week of losses, its longest down streak since March 2001.

Markets have taken another hit this week as a result of rising recession fears and increasingly hawkish commentary from the Federal Reserve, with Chair Jerome Powell recently pledging the central bank “won’t hesitate” to keep raising interest rates.

Stocks are “heavily for sale” once again, continuing to take a hit from rising concerns about surging inflation causing an economic slowdown, with investors “only focusing on the negative right now,” says Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisafulli.

The sharp selloff in retail stocks this week has been particularly “ugly” as investors “continue to puke out of the group” following warnings from major companies like Target and Walmart about inflationary pressures impacting profits, he adds.

Ross Stores was the latest retailer to report disappointing quarterly earnings, with its stock plunging 20% after the company’s CEO said sales took a hit as consumers are “feeling the pinch from the increase in prices.”

Key Background:

The S&P 500 has fallen over 20% from its record highs at the start of the year—its first bear market since the pandemic market crash in March 2020, while the Dow is down over 15% so far in 2022. With tech stocks leading market declines in recent months, the Nasdaq has already been in bear market territory for quite some time, falling over 28% this year.

Surprising Fact:

This is the fourth time on record that we have seen the S&P 500 post a losing streak of seven weeks or more (previously in 1970, 1980 and 2001), according to Nationwide’s chief of investment research, Mark Hackett. “Unfortunately, the index was negative over the next 12-months each time,” he adds.

Crucial Quote:

Not only is the glass “half-full,” it’s not even “half empty,” according to a note from Bespoke Investment Group. “It’s been emptied, put in in the recycling machine, and crushed to pieces,” as investor sentiment continues to take a big hit from rising recession concerns, surging inflation and warnings from the Federal Reserve about a “painful” period of monetary policy normalization.

What To Watch For:

As recession fears grip markets, major Wall Street firms are warning that stocks could plunge further amid a looming economic downturn. The S&P 500 could plunge by between 11% and 24% if the economy falls into a recession, according to top strategists.

Further Reading:

Here’s The Worst Case Scenario For Stocks, According To Goldman, Deutsche Bank And Bank Of America (Forbes)

Investors Have ‘Nowhere To Hide’ As S&P 500 Nears Bear Market Territory (Forbes)

Dow Falls 1,100 Points, Stock Market Selloff Continues As Major Retailers Warn Of Rising Cost Pressures (Forbes)

Dow Jumps 400 Points After Powell Says Fed ‘Won’t Hesitate’ To Keep Raising Rates To Combat Inflation (Forbes)

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