Wall Street’s S&P 500 is down .56% on the year in the most extended bull market ever while the MSCI All-Country World Index, a barometer of world stocks, has declined 7.39% on fears of a full-blown trade war, supply chain disruptions, global growth momentum waning, and of course, the threat of a worldwide recession.
According to data analyzed by Thomson Reuters, the number of global stocks that are technically in a bear market has increased since the start of the year, prompting some analysts to ring the proverbial bell that the Central Bank bubble in stocks may already be over.
Reuters said 9.3% of the individual constituents of the S&P 500 index were in a bear market in January. By October 22, that number significantly jumped to 34.1%, and more than 70% of stocks were in correction territory.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch notes that bears are becoming more vicious outside the United States. About 58% of the 2,767 stocks in MSCI’s global index are now in a bear market.
In Europe, there is blood on the streets. Most equity indexes are in or about to achieve correction status. The German DAX Performance Index has fallen 13.28% this year. Italy's FTSE MIB is lower 14% on the year, and the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 Index is about to enter a correction.
Some analysts point out that the recent surge in securities hitting 20% declines could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, and an ominous turning point that could signal the global economy is headed for trouble in 2019.
“It’s really an indication that a global bear market has probably already started,” said Albert Edwards, global strategist at Societe Generale, who spoke with Reuters, adding that technical indicators, such as the breadth of the market - pointed to the same conclusion.
Other MSCI indexes have seen a correction or are nearing a bear market.
Some analysts believe hot money can still flow into popular stocks, but a growing number of stocks are quietly collapsing in the background.
“They say fish rot from the head but in the market’s case, it’s rotting from the tail onwards,” said Societe Generale’s Edwards.
The bear is taking the global stock market by storm and has just recently made a presence in the United States. If Edwards is right, then 2019 could be the year of the bear.