Opinion: Stocks will revisit their coronavirus crash low, and here’s when to expect it


U.S. market history points to a final bottom in August

Is the great coronavirus bear market of 2020 now history? Many exuberant bulls would have you believe that it is, since the S&P 500 SPX, -0.36% is now more than 20% higher than its mid-March low. That satisfies the semi-official definition of a bull market.

So in that narrow sense, the bulls are right. But in a broader sense, I consider their arguments to be a triumph of hope over experience. If by definition we’re in a new bull market, the question we should be asking is different: Will the stock market hit a new low later this year, lower than where it stood at the March low?

I’m convinced the answer is “yes.” My study of past bear markets revealed a number of themes, each of which points to the March low being broken in coming weeks or months.

There are 11 bear markets in the Ned Davis calendar in which the Dow fell by more than the 37.1% loss it incurred between its February 2020 high to its March low. On average across those 11, as you can see from the chart below, the final bear market low came 137 days after first registering such a loss. If we add that average to the day of the March low, we come up with a projected low on Aug. 7.

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