Is the stock market on the way to crash again?

IIt’s been a tough year in the stock market so far, and investors are worried that things are only going to get worse. No time to panic, because fear can spoil your investment plan. However, now is the time to take stock of the situation in the market and review your portfolio allocation to make sure you are prepared for whatever comes next.

Some historical perspective

The short answer to the main question is yes. The stock market has crashed many times in the past, and it will crash many times in the future. Stock valuations rise and fall with supply and demand, and supply and demand are affected by a variety of factors. Greed, fear, apprehension, and business expectations all play a role, as does the availability of other investments.

All of these factors can change suddenly, and these changes can be brought about by a variety of events. These include recessions, epidemics, wars, government financial crises, failures of the financial system, or shifts in monetary policy. It can also be a natural process for investors who are learning about new technology, such as the Internet or blockchain.

A frightened investor in front of a falling stock chart with a bear lying on top of him.

Image source: Getty Images.

As a result, the market does not rise and fall smoothly with corporate profits. It moves through natural cycles that collectively reflect investor sentiment and expectations. We can be sure the market will crash again, but we can’t always know when exactly.

Many investors have seen the damage done so far this year, and they fear things are only going to get much worse from here. It’s just speculation about what will happen next, but we can look at some important data points as evidence. If we know what is likely to happen in the stock market during the rest of the year, we can prepare investment plans accordingly.

Did the accident really happen?

The Standard & Poor’s 500 is down More than 12% so far this year, while Nasdaq fell 22% less. Several things contributed to this decline. Higher interest rates, weak earnings expectations, geopolitical fallout from the conflict in Ukraine and troubling economic data pushed the market lower. As a result, the arrows are stationary in the correction region, and a Bear market on the horizon. People who have been weighted so heavily towards developing stocks and the tech sector are already facing a bear market, even though stocks as a whole haven’t quite reached that far yet.

All of these dynamics influence a larger trend. The market collapsed in the first quarter of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After this sharp drop, investors’ appetite for risk is once again buoyed by low interest rates, fiscal stimulus, and early signs that we have been learning how to deal with the global health crisis. Capital flows back into the stock market, especially in growth stocks And companies that have not been disrupted by the epidemic.

These forces sent market valuations to levels not seen since the dot-com bubble. Stocks become expensive in relation to dividends, book value, cash flows, sales and expected earnings. None of that was sustainable, and it was bound to return to historically normal levels eventually. Unfortunately, this bounce happened very quickly. High inflation forced the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively, making lower-risk assets more attractive and threatening growth.

While the market has responded to specific news, it is all happening within the general trend of valuations returning to normal levels. This is the most important thing that will determine whether the collapse is behind us – or whether there is more to come.

Could the market drop further?

Stock market valuations are certainly more reasonable than they were in December. This removed a lot of downside risk. However, there are still signs that things could go wrong from here. Interest rates will continue to rise to combat inflation. There is a chance that the Fed will go back on its tight schedule if economic activity suffers too much, but rates are historically low – perhaps they will have to rise in the long run.

Economic activity appears to be slowing, and gross domestic product (GDP) declined in the first quarter. In their first-quarter earnings reports, many corporate management teams spoke conservatively about their full-year outlook. Low unemployment and strong wage growth could lose steam, and any downturn in the labor market will combine with rising inflation to hurt consumer sentiment.

Clearly, much of the fuel for this market downturn remains. Evaluations are approaching pre-pandemic levels. Despite this, stocks are not cheap from a historical perspective. If a stock is incredibly cheap relative to earnings, cash flow, or dividends, it creates a market floor. Unfortunately, we are still well above that floor if these macroeconomic conditions continue.

Nothing is guaranteed at this point, but a more severe crash is surely on the table. There are no clear stock market catalysts on the horizon, and the current conditions likely won’t be enough to prevent a bear market.

Investors should be sure to customize their portfolio to withstand volatility, but it is important not to panic and sell all of your shares. There is still an opportunity for long-term returns from here.

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