The Market Approaches a Top – What Can Be Expected?

Previously, I discussed reasons our economy would go through a major downturn.[1] My study of major bear markets[2] indicates that after a market top and drop, such as the one we have experienced since January 26, there is a second top coming within -2.6% and +2.9% of the first. This marks the beginning of a major bear market. Having arrived at the traditional topping range, what can we reasonably expect moving forward?

What follows is a summary of market behavior for every major bear market since 1929 that, like ours, was preceded by a correction. There are six of them starting in 1929, 1937, 1946, 1969, 2000, and 2007. S&P 500 data is used for the 1968, 2000, and 2007 bear markets. Dow Jones closing data[3] was used for all bear markets before that.

1929
The largest drops for this market were (trading days from the peak given in parentheses) 13.5%(12), 11.7%(13), 9.9%(17), 6.8%(20), and 6.3%(9). The 30-day average change was -1.07%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 15.1%. By day 30 it was 31.0%.

1937
The largest drops for this market were 5.0%(18), 4.5%(15), 4.3%(28), 4.1%(24), and 3.1%(20). The 30-day average change was -0.68%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 6.0%. By day 30 it was 19.1%.

1946
The largest drops for this market were 2.5%(15), 1.2%(13), 1.0%(30), 0.95%(14), and 0.77%(8). The 30-day average change was -0.13%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 0.9%. By day 30 it was 3.9%.

1968
The largest drops for this market were 1.4%(19), 0.92%(3), 0.90%(17), 0.89%(4), and 0.77%(18). The 30-day average change was -0.29%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 2.7%. By day 30 it was 8.4%.

2000
The largest drops for this market were 2.6%(28), 1.9%(24), 1.6%(27), 1.5%(19), and 1.4%(10). The 30-day average change was -0.33%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 5.0%. By day 30 it was 9.6%.

2007
The largest drops for this market were 2.9%(10), 2.6%(15), 2.5%(6), 1.8%(27), and 1.6%(29). The 30-day average change was -0.24%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 2.6%. By day 30 it was 7.3%.

All the bear markets declined gradually for the first week. In fact, it was rare to find a substantial drop during that first week. Except for 1969, none of the largest percentage drops took place during the first week and those were only 0.92% and 0.89%. Markets did begin to diverge during the second week with the 1929, 1937, and 2000 markets dropping 15.1%, 6.0%, and 5.0%, respectively, after 10 trading days.

Once the top was reached, there was no turning back. Instead, most markets had a steady decline. The only exception was the exceedingly volatile 1929 market, which declined 35% by the 13th day recovered 19% and subsequently resumed its decline. This is an important point for our market since the S&P 500 had an intraday high of 2801.90 March 13. This placed it within 2.5% of the January 26, 2018 high, just within the window for the second peak topping range. That would have placed that potential second peak historically early for a major bear market with a correction preamble. The fact 24 trading days later we are still waffling back and forth and in a recent uptrend is in stark contrast to previous major bear market profiles and argues against that being the second peak.

Note that, except for the 1929 market, which by that time was recovering, none of the markets had reached bear territory 30 trading days after the market peak. Technically, the 1937 market had dipped into bear territory days before it but was only sitting 19.1% below the peak by day 30. All the other markets were only approaching correction level territory.

Given that summary, it is likely that we will also experience a gradual decline with little damage the first week. In fact, with large loss days paling in comparison to those we saw in early January, it may well lull investors into a sense of complacency. Having gone through a long correction already, there will likely be little concern a month and a half later if the 30th trading day arrives with losses still in the single digits. That would be a mistake as the bear relentlessly creeps up on us.

[1] It’s Not Over, EzineArticles, April 9, 2018.
[2] The Coast Is Not Clear – Signs of an Impending Major Stock Market Crash, EzineArticles, February 20, 2018.
[3] Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) was used to gather the Down Jones closing data and in preparing this article.

The Coast Is Not Clear – Signs of an Impending Major Stock Market Crash

Despite the recent correction, and regardless which popular metric you use; PE, Shiller’s CAPE Ratio, or Buffett’s Market to GDP comparison; this is one of the most expensive markets since 1923. The other two were the 1929 and 2000 markets and we know how those turned out. Incidentally, 1923 was the year the “Composite Index” was introduced, the S&P 500’s precursor.

The record shows that, while stock prices can continue at elevated levels for a long time, they eventually reverse to the mean. That can happen in one of two ways. Either the market goes sideways for a long time until earnings catch up, or there is a sharp drop to bring prices in line with historical PE ratios – a reversal to the mean. History has shown that investors are not a patient bunch. They will put up with a sideways market for a while, but eventually they will tire of meager returns and put their money to work where they believe will yield greater gain potential. Once that ball gets rolling, the market exits en masse and a severe bear market takes hold. The upshot: there is a big market drop in store.

The question is when and was this past correction a hic-up or a prelude to the big plunge. A study of major bear markets indicates the latter is more likely. Indeed, a review of 28-plus -percent market drops since 1923 reveals there is always a preamble to every major bear market. Some folks are under the mistaken impression that stock market crashes occur at market tops. That is far from the truth.

The stock market may well be fickle, but providence is kind. It always gives us advance notice of a coming crash, grabbing our attention amidst our complacency with a surprise drop and providing an opportunity to get out before it crashes in earnest. This is shown in the analysis below for each of the following major bear markets (28% decline or more): 2007, 2000, 1987, 1973, 1968, 1962, 1946, 1937, and 1929. Intraday prices and daily closes are only available for the S&P 500 from 1950 on. Therefore, Dow Jones Industrial Average closes were used for the markets before that.

2007
The initial top for the 2007 market came July 17 when the S&P 500 had an intraday high of 1555.90. The index would drop the next week and eventually settle to an intraday low of 1370.60 a month later on August 16 – a drop of 11.9%. Henceforth, all highs and lows are intraday unless otherwise stated. The market would climb for seven weeks to reach a market top for the index of 1576,09 October 11, 2007 – 1.3% higher than its previous high. An initial 5.5% dip was followed by a quick recovery to 1552.76 October 31, before succumbing and dropping 10.8% to a low of 1406.10 November 26, 2007. The index would recover to a high of 1523.57 and continue on a series of lower lows and highs until its nadir of 666.79 March 9, 2009 for a 57.7% decline.

2000
The 2000 market gave plenty of warning before the Dot.com plunge. The market faltered right after opening the New Year January 3rd. After reaching a high of 1478, the S&P 500 dropped to 1455.22 at the close. It dropped below 1400 the next three days and recovered to 1465.71 – the high January 20, 2000. From there it did a roller coaster ride down to the 1329.15 low of February 25 – a 10.1% drop from its high thus far. The market finally climaxed at 1552.87 March 24, 2000. It would drop precipitously April 14 to a low of 1339.40 – a 13.7% drop – but then slowly recovered to 1530.09 by September 1, 2000, only 1.5% below its all-time high. Thereafter it steadily went down with some sharp drops followed by rallies but only to the downtrend line. The market bottomed at 775.80 October 9, 2002 for a 50.1% decline.

1987
The 1987 bear market was a swift one. After vacillating to a high of 337.89 August 25, 1987, the S&P 500 dropped to 308.58 by September 8 – an 8.7% hit. It quickly recovered to 328.94 by October 2, only 2.6% down from its high. It wobbled to a close below 300 October 15 before crashing the next Monday to close at 224.84 – a loss of 20.5% for that day. It would close lower December 4, 1987 at 223.92 but the low point for the move came the day after the plunge, October 20, when it dipped to 216.46 for a loss of 36.0% from the August high.

1973
This, along with the 1968 bear market, were part of the mega bear market that spanned 1967 – 1982. The S&P oscillated within the 100 and 110 range for most of the year. It cleared the 110-barrier in late summer only to dip below it again before making its final surge as the year closed. It peaked at 119.79 December 12, 1972 and then dropped 4.3% to 114.63 December 21, 1972. The New Year propelled the index higher reaching a top of 121.74 January 11, 1973 – a 1.6% gain from the previous high. It quickly dropped to 111.85 by February 8 and then proceeded to careen downward over a series of bumps until hitting bottom at 60.96 October 4, 1974 – a 49.9% loss.

1968
After an initial drop to start the year, the market climbed steadily from March through November finally topping December 2, 1968 when the S&P 500 maxed out at 109.37. The index dropped to 96.63 by January 13, 1969 (an 11.6% drop), fizzled in its rally coming within 0.43 points of the low March 17, and then rallied all the way up to 106.74 May 14, 1969. After coming within 2.4% of the top it succumbed finally hitting bottom May 26, 1970 at 68.61. That was a 37.3% haircut.

1962
The stock market steadily climbed from October 1960 to December 1962 when the S&P 500 topped out at 72.64 December 12, 1962. Then it dipped to 67.55 January 24, 1963 for a 7.0% loss. The index quickly went back to 70 the next week and eked out a small gain the next month finally peaking at 71.44 March 15, 1.7% below the high. Thereafter, the index plunged to 51.35 June 25, 1962 for a 29.3% decline.

1946
The market had been on a tear since the latter part of World War II and started 1946 the same way gaining 8% by February. Intraday highs and lows for the S&P 500 were not available for the analysis so, hereafter, Dow Jones Industrial Average closes will be used. The Dow Jones closed at 206.61 February 5, 1946. The index then plunged 10% to close at 186.02 February 26. It quickly recovered its previous high and surpassed it on a bucking horse ride up to 212.5 May 29, 1946 – a 2.9% gain from its previous high. The bumpy ride continued until August when the index reached 204.52 on August 13 and then fell in exhaustion finally closing at 163.13 October 9, 1946 for a 23.2% decline. Despite a number of rally attempts, the market would continue to struggle until February 1948 with a maximum loss of 28%.

1937
After a precipitous drop from 1929 to 1932, the market seemed to be on recovery mode until it plateaued in early 1937. The Dow Jones closed at 194.4 March 10, 1937 to mark the end of the uptrend. The index then drifted lower for three months until bottoming June 14, 1937 at 165.51 for a 14.9% loss. It spent the next two months on a steady climb eventually topping at 189.34 August 16, 2.6% below the previous high. That was its last hurrah as the market plunged 49.1% to its 98.95 March 31, 1938 Dow Jones close.

1929
Much like the 2000 market, the Big Crash of ’29 gave plenty of warning. After going sideways for the first half of the year, the market went through a 10.0% correction when it swanned from a 326.16 Dow Jones close May 6 to 293.42 May 27. Thereafter, it rose undaunted until reaching the market top close of 381.17 September 3, 1929. It drifted lower, slowly at first, but then gained momentum until reaching a low point Friday, October 4 with a 325.17 Dow Jones close – a 14.7% loss. It made a mad dash effort to recover the next week but was only able to manage a 352.86 close October 10. At 7.4% lower than the September high, this was the lowest percentage close to a previous high of any of the major bear markets. Then again, this was the granddaddy of all bears. Ten trading days later, on October 24, the index closed below 300. It dived Monday, October 28 and again the next day closing at 230.07. The market continued its plummet until eventually reaching bottom July 8, 1932 when the Dow Jones closed at 41.22 for a record 89.2% decline.

Conclusion

Historical data shows that every major bear market since 1923 always provided investors with a warning. After seemingly peaking, they went through a significant decline before rising again only to plummet thereafter. In two instances, 2000 and 1929, it gave two warnings; the first a correction months before peaking, and the second after peaking.

Declines after the initial peak ranged from 14.9% to 4.3% with an average of 10.8% and a median of 11.6%. In three out of the nine cases, 2007, 1973 and 1946, the second peak was lower than the first. The range was from a loss of 7.4% to a gain of 2.9% with an average of -1.4% median of -1.7%. Taking out the 1929, 7.4% outlier, the average was -0.63% and the median -1.6%. The time between the two peaks ranged from 30 days to 5.4 months with an average of 96.7 days and a median of 93 days.

Starting from the premise we are in the beginning stages of a major bear market, and having gone through a 10% correction, what is in store for us? Surveying the data, it turns out we are average. There seemed to be no relationship between the severity of the bear market and the time lapse between the two peaks. However, five out of the six times the market went through a bonafide correction, 10% or more, it took months, between 2.9 and 5.4 months, for the market to top and begin its downturn in earnest. The notable exception was the Crash of 1929, which only took 37 days between the first and seconds peaks. Although there was no consistent pattern for depth of the initial decline and the total decline, it is notable that the four largest initial drops led to declines of 49% or more – a level only achieved by the 1973 bear market after only a 4.3% decline. There is no discernible relationship between the initial decline and second peak level, nor the total decline and second peak level.

It could be that Morgan Stanley’s prediction this Monday, that a slowdown may loom starting in the second quarter, may be correct. We have already gone above the -7.4% level from 1929, so it would seem this market does not correlate all that well to that one and the wait to the next decisive peak will be measured in months. Regardless, I would caution all to watch the market’s advance very carefully. If the S&P 500 gets within 2.6% of the 2872.87 January 26 top, i.e. 2798, that is your signal to exit the stock market. No sense being greedy about the last 1 or 2 percent gains and risk losing much more.

Selecting Online Content Marketing Service Providers Made Easy

Have you wondered why? In the search for the ‘content gold,’ marketing service providers are ‘heading west’ as more businesses continue their shift towards the creation of their media programs and launching content marketing dominance.

Many types of this are fighting for a content dominance or trying to ‘ride the wave’ to content marketing deliverance.

Still, there are some content marketing agency truths that you must know to explore where it’s all heading!

Most content marketing agencies don’t market content

Yes, it’s a hard fact to swallow that most organizations don’t market with content at all. Marketing organizations are infamous for concentrating on sales-led marketing campaigns where sales relationships and cold calls rule.

Lack of patience or the lack of resource, whatever you may cite the reason, agencies offering content services rarely create great content that attracts and sells and assist to in retaining their base of customers.

Business Lessons – Before you are about to hire online service providers, make sure to dig deeper into their previous work and examine if the content generated serves the purpose or was just to satisfy ‘me too’ blogs that you can find everywhere on the web.

Most SEO agencies don’t know the ABC of content marketing.

Google is smart, and it’s almost impossible to game the system. Getting found through search engines has more to do with incredible storytelling that everything else.

Today, many SEO companies want to divert the entire focus to this marketing, why? The reason being beside real SEO tricks drying up and the value that they used to offer to customers who used to be huge was not the same anymore.

Many SEO companies are in the same position and are making the switch swiftly. Others have left content marketing nickname for their SEO content creation service and calling it text marketing.

Yes, it must be stated that they have added services such as video production, infographics creation, blog content creation, but you must note that content creation is a small part of that services.

As a result, strategic planning elements of audience private gathering, internal content integration, mission statement creation, analytics and measurement outside of content consumptions metrics are missing.

Business Lessons – A comprehensive planning will fulfill many organizational goals. SEO is just a small part covering a few marketing missions. As a result, ensure that this strategy goes beyond the primary funnel considerations.

Most content marketing agencies are concerned about planning and not execution.

It is a good thing that you plan, strategize your content planning, but for who long? When will you correctly implement it in practice to see the projected results? Only planning and not executing to know the results means draining down all efforts.

It is happening with a majority of the online content marketing service providers. What’s more, even some content planning document showcases the recommendations that less content is produced or also stopping of the content program altogether.

Now, with this type of thinking, you can only assume where will these agencies land and in what state?

Business Lessons – Even if you have hired online text marketing service providers just for the content execution, also ask them an executable text marketing strategy. It will help you know what your agency knows about your industry and how they plan to serve the audience because content delivery is more natural than drafting a content strategy.

Most content agencies still consider content marketing as a campaign

Organizations need to understand that unlike any other marketing types, It is an ongoing process and without an end date. It must not be considered a campaign at all.

When you consider content marketing as a campaign, you work for its execution and success within a defined time frame which is a wrong approach.

This is an ongoing process which your online content marketing service providers need to work on full throttle and without an end date to leverage success gradually.

Business Lessons – Keep away from online these service providers who term as ‘campaign’ and not a ‘program.’ It is crucial to do because an agency is terming it a campaign will work for it for a short time and not consecutively.

You just need to come out of the shell that this is only a small part of marketing. No, it has a large chunk of its credit because the more you will invest in a ‘program,’ the more your business will evolve over the time to get the success that your services and products genuinely deserve.