How To React As People Lose Their Heads In Extreme Market Uncertainty

The first question you’re probably asking is: how far will the market drop, and how long until the market bottoms? Our research found that over the last 50 years, when the S&P 500 has fallen this far, total losses have ranged from 27% (1982) to 57% (2009). Historically, when the S&P 500 has fallen 20%, the time it has taken to reach the absolute bottom has averaged about six months and ranged from one month (the 1987 flash crash) to 18 months (2000–2002).

Will the market recover? How long until the S&P 500 is back to breakeven? The US market has fully recovered from every historical market panic. In 1982, the market fully recovered in only five months. After the 2008 crisis, it took until early 2012, or about three years, to fully recover. The speed and depth of the drop has not historically correlated to the speed of the recovery.

For those with cash to invest or assets to deploy, what has historically been a good strategy for investing during these crises? We recommend reading our full report, Crisis Investing, for an in-depth look at historical crises. Our report looks at times when high-yield spreads rose above 6.5% (as they did last week).

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