With the S&P 500 down 18.7%, bear markets are on everyone’s mind, and an article in Financial Advisor offers 4 things to know should stocks turn into a bear market.
Many investors want to know what happens after stocks enter a bear market, and once stocks are down 20% future returns tend to improve in general. Historically, about a year after a bear market starts, stocks have a median gain of almost 24%. In fact, there have only been 3 instances when stocks were lower a year after a bear market started, and all 3 times the market was in a recession—which Financial Advisor does not expect to happen.
The next question investors ask is how long bear markets usually last, and the answer to that runs the gamut. The shortest bear market was 1 day in 1957, while it took over 1 1/2 years to turn around after the dot-com burst in the early 2000s. However, if there’s a recession, a bear market will last longer.
But the last 3 bear markets lasted 5 months at the most, and when the decline was under 22%, it only took an average of 7 months to recover, as opposed to 27 months if the bear market was worse than 22% down. That makes predicting how long it will take for stocks to recover dependent on how long the bear market lasts in the first place, the article contends.
The final point Financial Advisor makes is that while there have been many bear markets in the past, each time stocks did eventually bounce back to new highs. Investors who take the long view should use this down market as an opportunity, stay balanced, and keep moving forward.