Echoing the immortal words of Bob Pisani, "the most important thing is to remain cool" according to Walter “Bucky” Hellwig, Birmingham, Alabama-based senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management, who helps oversee about $17 billion.
"Cool" will be an important word for tomorrow, after NYSE's FANG+ index crashed 5.6% today - its biggest drop ever - putting the widely-owned index of mega-tech, ultra-high P/E names deep in correction territory (down almost 14% from its highs)...
Volume was extremely high compared to yesterday's practically-silent melt-up...
And as Bloomberg notes, in this bull market alone there’s been five other corrections like this one, and it’s taken around seven months on average for equities to climb out of their hole. Based on that path, the current jitters won’t be fully eradicated until August... just in time for MidTerms to spike volatility once again.
“People’s muscle memories spaz,” said Michael Purves, Weeden & Co.’s chief global strategist. “It’s like going to the gym and lifting weights after you haven’t been to the gym for two years. Part of it is just a very normal psychological, emotional reaction to a very stressful thing.”
But tomorrow is critical as the index of tech stocks sits at the intersection of two critical support levels - a two-year trendline connected higher lows from early 2016 and The Shanghai Accord and the crucial 100-day moving-average...
Volatility is back with a vengeance. Bloomberg points out that there have already been 22 days in which the S&P 500 moved more than 1 percent in the first three months of the year, triple the total for all of 2017.
“You had this incredible low-volatility environment, but markets are supposed to go up and down,” Michael O’Rourke, Jones Trading’s chief market strategist, said by phone. “Relative to how markets should be and how they behaved most of my career, thus far this selloff is not a major event. At this point the selloff relative to history is just a blip.”
So the rupture is back-to-normal, and normal is usually hard as the FANG+ index lost $180 billion in market cap today alone (and just the four FANG names are now down over $260 billion in the last 10 days).
“So much of the money was directed toward tech stocks, and there is a much greater emotional identification for investors in these household names,” said Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivatives strategist at BTIG LLC In New York.
‘‘People are incrementally more agitated than they were during February’s leg down because everyone believed the coast was clear. People are optimistic by nature, so when corrections hit, they are largely unexpected and emotionally jarring.”
One other point of note - Nasdaq futures were up over 3% yesterday and down 3% today - that hasn't happened since 2011 - and, as @Dburgh notes, is not a great signal for the weeks ahead judging by the last 14 occurrences.
Consider, as @L0gg0l noted, in 13 of the 14 occurrences, the US economy had entered a recession.
Finally, we circle back to "Bucky" - our hero wealth manager from the beginning of this note. He has some final reassuring words for all of his clients (and potential clients):
“I keep the checklist of things that went wrong during the financial crisis, and I look at it from time to time to see where we stand. We’re nowhere close..."
Of course, we don't want to break it to "Bucky" that valuations are off the charts compared to 'the last financial crisis' and correct us if we're wrong, there wasn't $20 trillion of assets purchases by central banks creating the greatest potemkin village market the world has ever known.
Still, probably nothing.