The long-overdue correction in stocks has finally arrived. Corrections of 10% or greater typically occur every 15 months, so are to be expected. Since the last time we had a sell-off of this magnitude was 4 years ago, the volatility could be even more unsettling than usual for investors.
Much of the blame has been attributed to slowing growth in China, and concerns that their slowdown could spread to other countries. China's slowdown is more likely to impact countries that are dependent on the export of natural resources; their slowdown is less likely to have a material impact on developed economies such as the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
During volatile periods such as these, positive news tends to get ignored. While much was made on Friday of a disappointing report regarding China's manufacturing sector, very little press was devoted to positive reports regarding Europe and Japan.
I believe an interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve is off the table given the turmoil in the markets. While seemingly indiscriminate selling such as we have seen is reminiscent of some past market bottoms, nobody knows for sure where the bottom is until you are well past it, at which time prices have already rallied. Moments like these tend to be bad times to get defensive, and warrant patience.
Glenn S. Rank, AAMS, President