Analysis: History offers some hope for the bear market blues

We’re officially half-way through 2022, and so far, well… let’s just say if this year were a movie, now’s about the time I’d be storming out and demanding a refund. What kind of sick, morally depraved writers would come up with this trash?

Anyway, in the spirit of taking time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going from here, my colleague Nicole Goodkind has kindly taken a look at how Wall Street is faring. Short answer: terribly. But the longer answer is more fun, so let’s dive in.

Here’s the deal: The first half of the year has been the worst one for the S&P 500, the broadest measure of US markets, in more than 50 years.

The index is down more than 20% for the year, having entered a bear market two weeks ago. All three major US indexes — the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 — ended this month and quarter in the red.

Markets are easily roiled by uncertainty, and 2022 has been a messy drama queen from the get-go, with three major events keeping investors on edge:

  • Russia’s war against Ukraine (and all the supply-side shocks that’s created for oil and commodities)
  • Covid-19 lockdowns in China, which hamstrung manufacturers added more snags in global supply chains
  • And everyone’s favorite: inflation. The relentless rise in prices has forced the Fed to go HAM on interest rate hikes.

That unholy trinity of economic forces has made recession forecasting something of a national sport. Investors are headed for the exits: The S&P 500 has lost $8.2 trillion in total dollars since the start of the year.

So yeah, it’s not good.

But hey, it’s almost the weekend and I feel like looking on the bright side, so here’s a dose of optimism.

What we know from history is that the market always goes back up. Eventually.

And as Nicole notes, there is historically little correlation between the S&P 500’s first and second half of the year performance.

In 1970, for example, it fell 21% in the first six months, then rebounded to gain 27%.

Plus, US stocks typically go up around 15% on average one year after landing in bear territory. The last three bear markets took only four to five months to recover losses.

Bottom line: Hang in there, folks.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 54%

Dealmaking booms when markets are stable and businesses are feeling good. When the mood sours, people get skittish, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in this bear market. Central banks around the world are hiking interest rates, making it more expensive to borrow and taking the shine off new listings and mergers.

The number of global initial public offerings has dropped by 54% so far this year compared to 2021, according to data from Dealogic provided to my colleague Julia Horowitz. Mergers and acquisitions have plunged by 25%.

RADIO SHACK’S TWITTER

It’s not unusual for a brand to hire a clever writer to build an edgy or quirky social media presence. In the best case, you get an account like Wendy’s, which manages to do genuine customer service while playfully roasting competitors and latching onto memes.

But when RadioShack this week started firing off a stream of explicit, not-safe-for-work tweets, the internet was gobsmacked. This is honestly the only one I could find that would be OK to put in Nightcap (and y’all know how low our standards are).

Obviously, you can go Google the rest if you’re curious, but I can save you some time by assuring you they’re not especially clever or funny, just vulgar.

“WHAT IN TARNATION is going on with Radio Shack’s Twitter?????” tweeted one user. What the account hacked? Did one of those young social media writers get wasted and forget they were using their company Twitter?

nope Turns out the zombie of 90s tech retail is pivoting to crypto, my colleague Jordan Valinsky explains. And the lewd tweets were all part of a marketing ploy for the RadioShack Crypto platform.

Its describes itself as a “100 year old brand embedded into the global consciousness” that’s going to “lead the way for blockchain tech.” The “new” RadioShack has its own crypto token called $RADIO, which is basically worthless.

*EYE ROLLLLLL*

Leave it to the crypto bros to turn a legacy of my childhood mall experience into a dumb scheme.

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