Stocks sell off.
It is an inevitable, even healthy feature of stock markets. Yesterday, the previously high-flying NASDAQ led the market lower, falling by 4%. The primary reasons given for yesterday’s move included global stock market weakness, especially in China, and fears over rising interest rates.
If anything, days like yesterday underscore the importance of diversification. While Information Technology stocks account for much of the gains this year, they sold off more than defensive sectors, such as Consumer Staples. Small-cap stocks also held up better than Large-caps. Rotations in and out of certain types of stocks happen and happen quickly. This is a good reminder why we stay invested across all economic sectors even when a sector struggles relative to the others.
The macro story is still largely positive and, while the economy is not the stock market, strong economic activity is the long-term driver of corporate earnings and thus prices. Globally, 93% of countries have growing economies and U.S. companies, despite positive year-to-date returns, are cheaper now than they were at the start of the year as earnings growth has outpaced growth in stock prices. The fundamentals remain strong.
Prior to this week, we enjoyed a period of tranquil markets as there was not a move in the S&P 500 of 1% or more in any trading session during the third quarter. If you recall, there was a similar situation in 2017. These extended bouts of calm contrast sharply against the sudden 3-4% drop. Despite the barrage of notifications pushing headlines designed to grab attention, the truth is this type of move is typical. On average, there are 3.5 days like it a year.
Yes, stocks sold off yesterday and, yes, they could continue selling off. Or they could continue setting all-time highs.
Rather than react and make big investment decisions based on a bad down day(s), we encourage investors to reflect on what a 4% decline actually means for them and their financial future (if anything at all). Are there pending life events that might require you to balance your portfolio with additional, less volatile asset classes? Are you on track to meet your goals regardless of short-term market movements?
We are here and willing to having a conversation to discuss your questions and concerns. While we won’t be adjusting portfolios based on short-term gyrations, we acknowledge these movements can be scary and are available to listen.