While many investors remain fearful of another stock market collapse, history indicates that their fears are likely overblown, according to Strategas Research Partners.
Strategas’ research found that the S&P 500 has lost more than 20% in a calendar year only six times since 1926 — just 7% of the time, USA Today reports. On the other hand, 20%+ gains have occurred in 32 years; in 17 other years, the market gained between 10% and 20%.
The takeaway, according to USA Today’s Adam Shell: “It looks like many investors, fearing the worst, have been ignoring the fact that the stock market goes up two-thirds of the time. And, as a result, worrying about worst-case scenarios, such as a second financial crisis, a breakdown of the global financial system, a bank run in Europe, a looming stock market correction, or the U.S. economy suffering a major relapse, might have caused more harm than good.”
Having two major bear markets within a seven-year span has done a number on investors’ psyches, says Nicholas Sargen, chief investment officer at Fort Washington Advisors. “The back-to-back 50% declines shook people up because it was so unprecedented,” he said. “But if you ask me what is the likelihood of having three mega-downturns occurring within a decade and a half, I would say it’s a low-probability event.” Still, he said he “can’t entirely rule out Financial Crisis Round Two,” given Europe’s woes, other geopolitical risks and central bank monetary policy.