Value Investors Catch a Break

27 Nov

Today, the S&P 500 experienced its largest loss in 5 months, down almost 1.4%. This is the fifth largest decline this year and one of only 13 days this year that were down more than 1.00% (we’ve had 15 that were up more than 1%). While I would not say that stock market valuations are getting out of hand, after its recent run-up it’s nice to see a day where the stock market is down. It reminds us that volatility is something to be expected when investing in stocks.

What has troubled me over the last couple months is the low volatility of the recent rally. We have not had a day down more than 1% since July 13th. July 12th was also down more than 1%. Today, the decline was broad-based, with some 90% of the S&P trading lower and 27 of the 30 Dow stocks declining. Is this the start of a “correction”? Maybe or maybe not.

In the seven trading days beginning with July 12th, the market was down about 1.8%. In the seven trading days starting with June 6th, the S&P 500 was down 5%. For 2006, after the first -1% drop in a while, two-thirds of subsequent seven-day trading periods were followed by market declines. The average performance this year for the seven days starting with a –1% day? Down 2.3%.

I’ve got to say it’s a relief to see that the market can actually go down. Though undervalued stocks can be found in every type of market – think Apollo (APOL) – a couple more days like this and we might find a few more stocks in the bargain bin.

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