Will Stock Market Volatility Lead to a Bear Market?

October 12, 2018
Updated 6mo ago

By Kavitha Shastry

Another roller coaster day on Wall Street saw markets roar out the gate Friday, with the Dow Industrials opening up 400 points, giving back all those gains and then some by midday, and ultimately closing up a little more than a percent.

The rally wasn't enough to fully erase the pain investors felt earlier in the week, though, and major indexes posted their biggest weekly losses since March.

"Right now there's a bit of a tug of war ー are we heading into a bear market or is this just a normal correction?" asked Jason Browne, chief investment strategist at Fund-X. "It's still way early to know."

Tech stocks were able to recoup some of their losses Friday, with the so-called FAANG names adding back almost $100 billion to their collective market cap ー about half of what they lost over the previous two days.

The sell off comes just before third quarter earnings season kicks off in earnest, with Netflix ($NFLX) set to report after the bell next Tuesday.

"Anything negative is going to be a real problem right now," Browne said. "In general you're going to have to hear a little bit about, what is the impact, if anything, that rising rates are having on consumers? What is the impact trade wars are having on supply chains? What do they think about input costs?"

U.S. interest rates have risen to their highest levels in more than seven years, sending shares of homebuilders Toll Brothers ($TOL) and Lennar ($LEN) down on the fear of rising mortgage costs. As for tariffs, retailers from Walmart ($WMT) to the Gap ($GPS) to Jessica Alba's The Honest Company have all said rising costs may lead to higher prices.

But if companies indicate they'll be able to absorb these costs, Browne said, "that'll help the market hopefully find some footing."

For full interview click here.