Market Update 3-26-2020 – Was That The Bottom or Just A Bounce?

First, I hope this note finds you and your loved ones safe and well.

The financial markets, especially stocks, have rebounded sharply over the past 3 days.  This came on the heels of the fastest ever bear market decline in history.  So the question is – was that the bottom?  It was certainly “a” bottom but was it “the” bottom?

While this situation is different than the 2008-2009 financial crisis, or the 2001 Dot-Com bubble, or any other major market decline in the last 50 years,  I think it is instructive to look at history.  In each case, the stock market ultimately did find a bottom and then go on to, not only recover the decline but grow to new record highs.  However, the ultimate bottom of the decline occurred only after several rally attempts failed.

In 2008 the S&P500 fell 36% (1) before seeing about a 25% bounce (2) very quickly.  This was then just as quickly given back and the low was retested later in October (3). Then that led to another ~20% bounce (4) into November before a subsequent drop and a new low was made (5). The market rallied almost 30% into the new year (6) but then sold off ~28% into what was ultimately THE low in early March (7), some 56% below the level when the initial decline started.

Here in 2020, the S&P500 fell 35% from Feb 19, 2020 to the low just 2 days ago.  Over the past 3 days the market has bounced up 17%.  Mark Twain is noted for saying History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.

So what happens from here?  Could we follow the pattern from 2008-2009 or could we follow the pattern from the fall of 2018, when the S&P500 declined some 20% in 2.5 months then bounced and never looked back?  I would surely love a repeat of late 2018 but I believe the higher probability is something similar to 2008-2009.

The answer depends on when the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases peak and will the fiscal and monetary policy response be enough to mitigate the health and economic damage globally.

We are likely at least several weeks away from the peak rate of change in either COVID-19 cases or the resulting economic distress. Some lower lows may well lie ahead in the coming weeks/months. We continue to monitor the situation daily and adjust accordingly.

Feel free to call us with any questions.

Jim & DWM Team

Source: Fidelity Investments, Saut Strategy, Capital Group

Although information herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable, its accuracy and completeness are not asserted. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the judgment of the financial advisor as of the dates indicated and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.

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