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Planning & Economy

How Much Further?

October 18th, 2023

Now the question we are getting is: when will this bear market end?

Some pundits have suggested that the following events may act as the catalysts that mark the end of the downdraft: The mid-terms, when Republicans take a majority in Congress, when the Federal Reserve stops raising rates and inflation subsides, after we experience our next recession, and so on.

In our experience, the “bottom is in” when buyers return: Brilliant, right? Investors have to glean that low prices justify taking the risk to achieve a higher return in the future. Again brilliant, right?

Then there’s an old Wall Street adage: “Buy at the wake, Sell at the wedding”; are we hearing the bagpipe dirge yet? I don’t hear them yet, but a few pipers are beginning to paradiddle. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, day traders have all but disappeared. Crypto and most of the meme stocks are now unpopular and trodden.

Measuring the percentage of all Operating Company Stocks* 30% or more below their yearly highs helps us understand the depth of bear markets. This statistic recently reached 57%. The last two times this statistic surpassed 60% were in 2020 during the pandemic and 2009 during the credit crisis. We do not believe the current period resembles the severity of either crisis. More often than not, in previous periods, equities have begun new bull markets around the levels we are currently seeing. We are not overly optimistic that history will repeat itself nor that the worst is over.

Our economy seems to be slowing down. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to eliminate inflation by reducing demand. The Central Bank appears to be getting the desired effect: The Leading Economic Index (LEI) continues to weaken, as does Industrial Production, Consumer Spending, and Housing Starts, among a few of the many economic indicators.

At this moment, the headwinds seem to be strengthening; we believe this storm will be briefer than past squalls.



Carlos Dominguez – CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Portfolio Manager, RJFS



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