How long will stocks remain in a bear market? It probably depends on whether a recession occurs, says the Wells Fargo Institute

When the S&P 500 officially fell into a bear market on June 13, shutting down more than 20% from the last peak, it sparked a debate over whether investors should stick around or think about buying the valley.

Slaughter stock prices SPX,
may seem tempting to investors, but analysts at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute warned Tuesday that the “technical damage to markets” in this bear market is likely to take “time to repair.”

To inform about their views, the team studied 1[ads1]1 former S&P 500 bear markets since World War II, and found that the downsizing lasted an average of 16 months (see chart) and gave a negative return of 35.1% bear market.

Previous bear markets lasted for an average of 16 months

Wells Fargo Institute, Bloomberg data

Another important factor was that previous bear markets outside an economic recession were much shorter – about 6 months on average – and had a slightly less harmful bear market return of -28.9%.

However, the duration extended to approx. 20 months on average with a recession and a more serious -37.8% return.

It is worth noting that the current bear market is backdated to January 3, when the S&P 500 closed at a record high of 4,796.56, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Therefore, it is technically already deep into its fifth month.

“It may be tempting to try to take advantage of the recent weakness, but although we expect more entry points in the coming months, we still prefer patience before giving new money to equities,” the Wells team wrote.

“Once the Federal Reserve has just started the tightening cycle, we have shifted our investment preferences away from economically sensitive assets and towards more quality-oriented and defensive assets.”

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said Tuesday that he expects the U.S. economy to slow down, but that a recession can be avoided. He also said that the Fed’s key interest rate may need to reach 4% sometime next year, up from the current target range of 1.5% – 1.75%, to cool high inflation.

Shares lost their grip on earlier gains on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
down nearly 300 points, the S&P 500 by 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP,
down 2.3%, according to FactSet.

Read: You know that the bear market is coming to an end when anxious investors press the panic button

See also: The presidential election cycle shows that the stock market may bottom out in the third quarter before rising in the fourth, says analyst


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