One of the hottest debates on Wall Street since the S&P 500 started out 2016 with a historic sell-off is whether or not we are on the cusp of a bear market. According to Ritholtz Wealth Managements Michael Batnick, the bear market may have already come and gone.
A bear market is typically defined as a 20 percent pullback in the S&P 500. Februarys selloff didnt eclipse that threshold, but Batnick noted that the majority of the stocks within the index did.
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The S&P 500 at -15.3 percent might not have fit the definition of a bear market but dont tell that to the average stock, which fell 34 percent from its 52-week high, Batnick pointed out.
Since 1970, the S&P 500 has averaged a new 52-week high once every 38 days. Since last years all-time high, it has been 252 days and counting. However, just because the market isnt making new highs doesnt mean it will soon be making new lows.
Entertaining as it may be, its mostly a waste of time trying to label what type of environment were in, because much of the time, like today, were in neither a bull nor bear market, Batnick concluded.
After a horrible start to the year, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) is now up 0.7 percent year-to-date.
Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.
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