Today Was An Intraday Recovery (January 2024)

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We are currently monitoring the S&P 500 Price Index‘s eleventh bear market.

A bear market is simple. You find the last high close of the markets and measure the percent down. If it is more than 20%, it is a bear market.

When does the bear market end? Well, there’s the rub. It ends at the lowest value (called relative bottom) that occurred between the two peak closes. This means you don’t know that the bear market has ended until the market has fully recovered and set a new high.

On January 3, 2022, the S&P 500 reached a new peak closing at 4,796.56.

Then, on Monday, June 13, 2022, the market closed at 3,749.63, -21.83% down and officially a bear market.

Since then, it has had relative lows of:

Date Close Down from Prior High Contemporaneously Published Article
June 16, 2022 3,666.77 -23.55% No Way To Tell If This Bear Market Is A Bull Yet” on July 4, 2022
September 30, 2022 3,585.62 -25.25% Bear Market Continues Through Third Quarter 2022” on October 27, 2022
October 12, 2022 3,577.03 -25.43% Did the 2022 Bear Market Continue Into 2023?” on May 2, 2023


Now that is has been over two years since the last relative low, the markets are teasing a full recovery.

Today at 9:34 AM, just a few minutes after the markets opened, the S&P 500 Price Index set a new high of 4,798.50 (+0.04% above the last peak close). However, over the course of the day the price gyrated, closing January 11, 2024 at only 4,780.27, -0.34% below the last peak close.

While we still cannot call the end of the Bear Market from this performance, today’s returns strongly suggest that, 15 months ago, October 12, 2022 was the end of this bear market. While our full bear market experience has been 24 months long, the actual 2022 bear market was only 9 months. This means that 62.5% of the 2022 bear market experience was actually spent in a bull market.

This experience matches larger research findings and shows how bear markets feel often longer and more drawn out than they really are.

Did the 2022 bear market end on October 12, 2022? Probably, but we’ll have to check back tomorrow to see if there is a new peak close. If not, we’ll need to check the trading day after and after until we see a new peak close and can definitively call it.

Alternatively, you can just take Jack Bogle’s advice and don’t peek.

Photo by Leila Boujnane on Unsplash. Image has been cropped.

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Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.