'Markets In Turmoil' - The Upside Of Downside

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Includes: DDM, DIA, DOG, DXD, EEH, EPS, EQL, FEX, FWDD, HUSV, IVV, IWL, IWM, JHML, JKD, OTPIX, PSQ, QID, QLD, QQEW, QQQ, QQQE, QQXT, RSP, RWM, RYARX, RYRSX, SCHX, SDOW, SDS, SFLA, SH, SMLL, SPDN, SPLX, SPUU, SPXE, SPXL, SPXN, SPXS, SPXT, SPXU, SPXV, SPY, SQQQ, SRTY, SSO, SYE, TNA, TQQQ, TWM, TZA, UDOW, UDPIX, UPRO, URTY, UWM, VFINX, VOO, VTWO, VV
by: Charlie Bilello

Fear is in the air again. Over the past few weeks, the S&P 500, Dow, and Russell 2000 have given back all of their gains on the year.

Note: Index price returns; does not include dividends.

Meanwhile, international indices have fared much worse, with the average country ETF down 14% year-to-date.

Note: Total return in U.S. dollars as of 10/24/18. Data source for all tables herein: YCharts.

The list of countries hitting 52-week lows is a mile long:

And a number of key sectors are hitting their lowest levels in over a year:

If the month ended today, it would be the worst for the S&P 500 since February 2009.

Unsurprisingly, financial media has taken notice. For the second time in two weeks, CNBC has aired an after-hours special report:

Historically, such reports have served as a bullish contrarian indicator, with above-average S&P forward returns and gains 100% of the time looking out over the next 3-12 months.

Now, before you get too excited, there's an important caveat that must be noted.

The data set of "Markets in Turmoil" reports starts in 2010 and therefore is limited to a bull market run where corrections have been short-lived. When the next real bear market hits, there will surely be losses following these specials.

That said, as a short-term sentiment gauge, it's been a pretty good one. And as a trader playing a bounce, I would much rather see a "markets in turmoil" special than regular programming.

For longer-term investors, the upside of downside is clear: it's an opportunity to add money or reinvest dividends at lower prices/valuations and higher prospective returns. All long-term investors still in the adding/reinvesting phase should be rooting for a bear market today and many more "markets in turmoil" specials in the years to come. Bring it on.