Would Higher Volatility Mean a Bear Market?

We’ve shown many ways over the past few months how 2017 has been among the least volatile years in history. Well, here’s another way. Per Ryan Detrick, Senior Market Strategist, “In the end, we judge how volatile a year is by the average size of the daily changes; and wouldn’t you know it, only 1964 saw a smaller average change per day than what we’ve seen year to date.”

The absolute value of the average daily change for the S&P 500 Index has been only 0.30% so far in 2017, which is second only to the 0.26% seen in 1964. It is worth noting the mid-60s saw three consecutive years of low daily ranges.

What could it all mean? First things first, higher volatility will come. It has no other way to go, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Remember, the last time we saw a market environment like this-in 1995- volatility increased dramatically over the subsequent four years, but that period also saw the S&P 500 double. The huge economic and bull market boom of the mid-to-late ‘50s also followed historic calm, though volatility increased more modestly during that period.

The bottom line is that this is a very small sample size, but by no means does it suggest we should assume a bear market could spring into effect once volatility comes back. As long as economic growth sustains current levels and earnings remain strong, we see very little chance of a recession within the next 12 months and expect the equity bull market to continue in 2018.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted.

Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including: the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market.

The S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

The modern design of the S&P 500 stock index was first launched in 1957. Performance back to 1928 incorporates the performance of predecessor index, the S&P 90

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