Special Market Update: More Capitulation Than Catastrophe

Stocks are taking another hit today, with the S&P 500 now down 11% from its January 4 peak. We are now seeing selling across all industry sectors as opposed to the more focused that was once isolated to growth stocks.

Even energy stocks are down, which reveals that this is not about geopolitics. And while it is easy to blame the looming Fed meeting, it is becoming apparent that concerns go deeper than interest rates.

The latest Empire State manufacturing reading released last week and this morning’s Markit manufacturing and services reading showed weaker than expected activity. I believe traders are starting to question whether the economy is weaker than anticipated, in which case earnings estimates for 2022 may have to come down.

So yes, a correction is here and even warranted. What that means is a revision to Wall Street’s outlook that forces investors to admit that their dreams have gotten ahead of the fundamentals.

But it is far from catastrophe. Once dreams of instant and endless gratification come to and end, reality remains generally constructive.

In my view, we are close to a near-term bottom. Stocks are very oversold, with the S&P 500 having a relative strength index of 22.5 on a 100-point scale . . . any reading of 30 is considered very oversold and bullish or a bounce.

It is also encouraging to note that at least for now, the S&P 500 is holding its October low of 4,280. Whether the bounce I expect turns into a sustained rally will depend on the earnings results and guidance we get over the next 2 weeks.

In addition, there is a Fed meeting this week, and will be interesting to see if the Fed tones down its hawkishness. While they’ve already seen all the economic data that they’ll incorporate into their next policy vote, they are not blind to the market mood.

So please do not panic. I think the worst may be behind us and we will have time to catch our breath and make necessary adjustments to get the best results possible in 2022.

Every correction ends old dreams that were never going to come true in the long term . . . but opens up new prospects and new opportunities. I have survived too many corrections to count. We just need to remain alert and agile.