It was a spooky time for the equity markets in October as stocks experienced a long overdue correction. You have to go back seven years to have a month that sold off in the way the markets behaved in October. Yes, historically October has been one of the most volatile months of the year. The problem with historical data over the past several years is most of the time history has NOT repeated itself. Stocks have been on a tear for years breaking record after record. In fact not that long ago all of the major indexes had set all time record highs. Fast forward to today and we find the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) down almost 7% from its recent all-time high, the S&P 500 (chart) actually fell at one point over 10% from its all-time high finishing the month of October down 8%, the Nasdaq Composite (chart) is down over 10% from its recent all-time high and the small-cap Russell 2000 (see chart below) is off over 13% from its all-time high recorded on August 31st of this year. So I think it is safe to say most of the market is in correction mode.
Next question, is this a healthy correction for the markets and will stocks find their bottom here or could this be the start of our first bear market in a decade? I guess the answer depends upon who you ask. I think it is too early to call out that a bear market is in the making, but one thing is for sure, we have not seen sustained volatility as we have witnessed recently in a very long time. As long as the trade war rhetoric continues to spew out of Washington and as long as the Federal Reserve keeps its foot on the gas pertaining to interest rates, I think the wild swings and volatility will continue. Oh yea, there is also this small event next week called the “mid-term elections” which should also play a key role in continuing vol. Good luck to all 🙂