Wall Street is making a good case for buying stock in Maalox and Tums.
In another stomach-churning day Tuesday, stocks plunged in the morning, then pulled off a late-afternoon rally, ending the day in positive territory and recouping some of the losses from the market’s two-day plunge.
“The positive for the market is that we came back today in very convincing fashion, but I certainly would not say it’s all done, the Wicked Witch is dead,” said JJ Kinahan, chief investment strategist for TD Ameritrade. “Brace for volatility and strap yourself for the next couple of weeks.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is now up just under 1 percent for the year. It had been up as much as 7.5 percent less than two weeks ago.
The bounce-back no doubt came as relief to many Americans made queasy by the drop in their retirement savings and investment accounts.
But for a while Tuesday, it was ugly and getting uglier.
After its 1,175-point nosedive Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average sank an additional 567 points right after trading began Tuesday. Several ups and downs later, the Dow finished the day with a neatly symmetrical gain of 567 points, closing at 24,913.
The big sell-off over the past few days was triggered, at least in part, by fears of inflation and higher interest rates. But the rebound showed that even after going through the worst market tumble in more than six years, some investors are still in a buying mood.
That’s been one of the characteristics of the remarkably resilient, nearly nine-year bull market: Time and again, buyers have stepped in within a day or two of a market drop and wiped out the decline.
“While the sharp decline in the S&P 500 on Monday was unnerving, it is important to keep in mind that these kinds of moves have tended to be buying opportunities in the post Financial Crisis era,” Lori Calvasina, head of equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a research note Tuesday.
Going back to 2010, the S&P 500 index has fallen 3 percent or more in a single day 15 times. And each time, the index, which is the benchmark most professionals and many index funds use, had been meaningfully higher six months later, Calvasina noted.
Even so, one couldn’t blame investors for forgetting this trend, as the market didn’t drop more than 3 percent on a single day all last year.
The question is, was Tuesday too soon to buy back in?
“There’s no question that the level of risk in buying the dip from this point forward is going to be higher than it was through any time last year and really even a year before that,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. “That’s why it’s wise to just sit and watch here for another day or two and see where things settle out.”
Other Wall Street insiders say the worst is over.
“I believe this is the bottom,” said Phil Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management. “This is not 2008, when we were really seeing a massive broad-breadth market sell-off. Economically, we’re in too good a shape.”
The turbulence has yet to rattle Susan McCauley, of Marietta, Georgia, a 66-year-old investment portfolio administrator who said she is not shifting away from stocks, despite the big tumble.
She recently decided to push back her retirement from 68 to 70 to give her more time to save up a bigger nest egg.
“Now that looks even more like a good decision, because it will give me time to invest more and give the market time to recover,” she said.