Bullish investors shrug off coronavirus fears

Concerns the market decline might be start of a bear market were always unrealistic

The 7,000-lb bronze ‘Charging Bull’ sculpture near the New York Stock Exchange, where stocks hit fresh all-time highs last week. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

The 7,000-lb bronze ‘Charging Bull’ sculpture near the New York Stock Exchange, where stocks hit fresh all-time highs last week. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

 

In this bull market, you have to be quick if you want to buy the dips. Stocks hit fresh all-time highs last week, wrong-footing those spooked investors who thought things might be about to get an awful lot worse as the coronavirus spread around the world. This column has posited in recent weeks that any market damage was unlikely to be severe and that the virus likely represented an excuse rather than a reason to sell what had become an extremely overbought stock market. As soon as the S&P 500 worked off those overbought conditions, dipping 4 per cent and briefly touching its 50-day moving average, it rebounded. Fears that the market decline might be the start of a bear market were always unrealistic, judging by Citigroup’s Bear Market Checklist, which tracks 18 warning signs for investors. Only five of the 18 signals are flashing red, compared to 17.5 and 13 at market peaks in 2000 and 2007.

“We don’t need all 18 to turn red to finally turn bearish,” noted Citi, “but we certainly need more than five.”

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