The Nasdaq Composite was on track to exit a brutal bear market Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to end a market correction, as stocks rallied in the wake of a cooler July inflation reading.
The Nasdaq Composite
was up 2.5% near 12,810 in midday trade. According to Dow Jones Market Data, a finish at or above 12,775.32 would mark a 20% or more rise from Nasdaq’s June 16 closing low at 10,646.10, meeting widely used criteria for exiting a bear market (see chart below).
meanwhile, was up roughly 540 points, or 1.6%, near 33,315. A finish above 32,877.66 would see the blue-chip gauge, which has dodged a bear market, log a rise of 10% or more from its correction low.
Stocks were finding support after a headline consumer-price index for July showed a better-than-expected slowdown for rising prices. But some market watchers were wary of sounding the all-clear based on indexes clearing an arbitrary threshold.
“One of the most enduring signals for when we leave a bear market is when 90% of the S&P 500 stocks shoot through their 50-day moving average, then it moves towards escape velocity,” Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at brokerage LPL Financia, told MarketWatch by phone on Tuesday.
The Nasdaq fell 33.7% from its recent high to bear market low, and has been in bear market territory for 107 trading days. The decline marks the deepest and longest bear market since 2008, when the index fell 54% and the period lasted 218 trading days, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
For other indexes, of course, it’s the S&P 500
— the U.S. large-cap benchmark — that really counts when it comes to U.S. equities. The index has also bounced, but remains in a bear market after completing a slide of more than 20% from its record finish on January 3.
Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson, one of Wall Street’s most vocal bears, also argued that the best part of the rally was over.
“The rally in stocks has been powerful and has investors believing the bear market is over and looking forward to better times,” the chief investment officer said in a Monday client note. “However, we think it’s premature to sound all-clear simply because inflation has peaked. The next leg lower may have to wait until September when our negative operating leverage thesis is better reflected in earnings estimates. However, with valuations this stretched, we think the best part of the rally is over.”
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
the popular gauge of 30 so-called blue-chip companies, has not only dodged a bear market, but has traded on the cusp of exiting correction territory. The Dow hasn’t suffered a 20% drawdown — the arbitrary market used in a popular definition of a bear market. It’s slide of more than 10% from its early January record finish, however, did qualify for a market correction.
What history tells us
So, what does history tell us about the Nasdaq if it enters bull market territory, and what it says about the Dow when it leaves a correction?
Dow Jones Market Data compiled the tables below: