How low can stocks go? Updated risks and values for November 21st:

How low can stocks go? Updated risks and values for November 21st:    

Bottom Line: In case you're new to this series, the purpose of this story is to inform you as to what's possible in a near worst-case outcome for the financial markets. The reason is to understand what's possible, though unlikely, so you can plan soundly for your financial future unemotionally. Too often when we have a rare short-term downturn in the markets - it's too late to offer up information that might have been helpful ahead of time. This week's edition of "how low can stocks go" goes as follows...re the Dow, S&P 500 & Nasdaq stand against their all-time high levels:    

  • DOW: Within 1% of highs  

  • S&P 500: Ditto  

  • Nasdaq: Ditto  

What a year and what a ride it's been for stocks and continues to be!  We're closing out the third quarter earnings season with growth of 6.2% despite the impact of the hurricanes, which is more than double the 3% anticipated growth coming into earnings. All of this might be enough to make you nervous but consider this. Fundamentals have still performed better than stock prices. In other words, there's less risk in the stock market today than on January 1st.    

The Dow is up 18.6% in 2017, the S&P 500 is up 15.3% & the Nasdaq has been the biggest winner up by 26.2%.    

All of this without even getting healthcare or tax reform (yet). As far as how low stocks could go...If only market fundamentals mattered here's what we'd want to consider with regard to the S&P 500 for example.    

  • S&P 500 P\E: 24.83   

  • S&P 500 avg. P\E: 15.68    

The downside risk is 37% based on earnings multiples right now from current levels. That's two percent less risk than a week ago and about 3% less risk than entering 2017 despite stocks having appreciated so significantly this year already. 2017 is proving the power of improved earnings. With the super-strong growth year over year, stock prices are meaningfully higher as compared to the start of 2017, yet risk has actually declined because fundamentals have improved faster than prices have risen.   

Now, as always, I don't expect that type of selloff to occur (37%) but it's always important to ensure that you're positioned for negative adversity. If a short-term decline at the aforementioned levels wouldn't affect your day-to-day life, you're likely well positioned to continue to take advantage of investment opportunities. If that size of selloff would rock your world over the short-term, that's when you should probably seek professional assistance in crafting your plan (that balances your short-term needs with long-term objectives). 

 

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