How low can stocks go? Updated risks and values – October 2nd

How low can stocks go? Updated risks and values – October 2nd  

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. The US stock market is the greatest wealth creation machine in the history of the world. I want you to benefit from it without making emotional mistakes with money.     

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 the Dow, S&P 500 & Nasdaq stand against their all-time high levels:              

  • DOW: within 1%              
  • S&P 500: within 1%     
  • Nasdaq: off 1.2%        

After setting new all-time highs for the DOW and S&P 500 within the past week once again, markets rallied yesterday on news of the new USMCA that replaces NAFTA. Trade remains a focus along with the occasional Washington news of the day briefing impacting stocks. Notably the SCOTUS drama hasn’t negatively impacted stocks. 

Here's the 2018 year-to-date performance:              

  • The Dow is up 7.8%, the S&P 500 is up 9.4% & the Nasdaq is up 16.4%              

As far as how low stocks could go...? If only market fundamentals mattered here's what we'd want to consider regarding the S&P 500 for example.              

  • S&P 500 P\E: 25.33      
  • S&P 500 avg. P\E: 15.73           

The downside risk is 38% based on earnings multiples right now from current levels. That's 1% less risk compared with this time last year on a fundamental basis alone. Earnings have continued to grow faster than stock prices over the past year.            

Now, as always, I don't expect that type of selloff to occur (38%) 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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