Bloody Friday, Large caps off again

Stocks fell into a bear market on Friday with the S&P 500 now off 20% from its record.

Stocks were under pressure again Friday as investors worried the economy could fall into a recession.

Rising recession fears pushed U.S. stocks into a bear market on Friday with the S&P 500’s decline from its all-time high in January now reaching 20%.

The S&P 500 dropped 2% on Friday, putting the benchmark for U.S. stocks 20.7% below its intraday record reached in January. The index is now headed for a close that’s more than 20% below its January record closing level as well.

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So to most on Wall Street, this is now the first bear market to hit the markets since the rapid decline in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.

“Stocks are still liberally priced and the psychology that drove them upward for a decade has turned negative,” wrote George Ball, chairman at investment firm Sanders Morris Harris. “The average bear market lasts a year (338 days, more precisely). This downturn has run for only one-third of that, so it probably has more downside room to run, albeit punctuated by interim rallies.”

Now that the S&P 500 is down 20% from its highs, that puts the start of the bear market at early January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 538 points, or 1.7%, with the benchmark losing steam after a strong open. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 2.8% and is already deep in bear market territory, trading 31% off its highs.

For the week, the Dow is off by 4% for what would be its first 8-week losing streak since 1923. The S&P 500 is down 5% for the week, while the Nasdaq is off by 6%. Both indexes are on pace to fall for a seventh-straight week.

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