This six-year old bull market continues its tumultuous rally. The S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 2,119.59 on February 25, 2015.
From there, it tumbled 3% to 2,039.69 on March 11, leading some folks to speculate that this was the beginning of a sharp downturn, or perhaps the beginning of a major bear market. Deutsche Bank’s David Bianco said that we could see a sell-off of as much as 9% before things turned around.
But a funny thing happened. Stocks rallied again. The S&P 500 is right around 2,110, which is just 9 points from returning to an all-time high.
These swings are not unusual. In fact, they’re very typical of upward moving markets.
“Despite average intra-year drops of 14.2%, annual returns [have been] positive in 27 of 35 years,” JP Morgan Asset Management said.
This doesn’t mean stocks will continue to go up from here. It doesn’t mean they will turn down again either.
All it means is that big scary sell-offs happen all of the time and they’re usual very brief. For investors, it usually means that patience pays more than panic.
UBS equity strategist Julian Emanuel offered some market context following Wednesday Federal Reserve announcement:
Chair Yellen’s admission that “removing the word patient from the statement doesn’t mean we are going to be impatient” reinforces the idea that the task at hand for the Fed is one where a degree of market uncertainty and flexibility to incoming developments is necessary for normalization to unfold. We expect this uncertainty will continue to underpin equity market volatility, which is trending well in excess of the prior two years. At the same time, the combination of historically low (but rising) interest rates, continued low oil prices, and strength in consumer and corporate confidence reinforces our year end S&P 500 price target of 2,225 but … we think it increases the probability that our “upside risk” price of SPX 2,400 could materialise.
So, put UBS in that camp of bulls.