E Correction Territory – Time To Panic!

I was waiting patiently and then Thursday afternoon it happened. With the Nasdaq passing a 9% decline from its peak, there it was.

“Nasdaq approaches correction territory.”

I bet those financial journalists had that queued up for the past week – you know, the day after the Dow hit its all-time high. After all, this bull market is ancient and we had to see big decline. What’s a new all-time high (boring) when finally being able to spew the salacious headline of “correction territory.”

Hamburger to a stray dog.

Failure to the NY Giants.

We all know that “correction territory” is when an index falls by 10%. But do we? What if that 10% drop came after the market just kissed the top of a year-long trading range? Was that a correction? What did it correct? A trading range?

And what if it only fell 9.9%? How about that?

Or what if the index gained more than 80% from its last significant bottom (Feb 2016) and then gave back 23% of that run?

I’ll invoke Col., Sherman T. Potter, again – horse-hockey!

An index reaching correction territory sounds like investors should panic. Since its a correction, we should sell.But then again, it just corrected and that’s what happens in bull markets. If the bottom is not in then it will be more than a correction and that means it’s a bear market.

So which is it, your pundit-ness?

Let’s talk about a few things that are infinitely more useful.

First, the market is oversold. Of course, it was oversold in February before the bottom was found so this is just a condition, not a signal.

Second, the advance-decline was falling before price and that was information. But now they are falling together so there is no real information there at this time. If anything, it keeps the bears in charge.

Third, the number of NYSE stocks hitting new 42-week lows peaked at 526 this week. That’s 17.2% of all NYSE stocks. Is that big enough for a bottom? I’m not so sure. However, we have to keep in mind that the market is only a week removed from 52-week highs (depending on the index).To me, that is extreme in new lows.

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Disclosure: No positions in anything covered.

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Duke Peters 2 days ago Member's comment

Wowzers! Scary.