On July 7, 2008 S&P 500 went into bear market territory after sliding 20% from its October 9th 2007 all-time highs at 1565.15. The current bear market correction has been going on for more than nine months. So how long do bear markets last on average?
From the table below one could see that the average duration of bear markets has been about 18 months since the great depression. Since 1956 however the average duration of bear markets has been about fourteen months. The average decline since 1929 has been 38.2% versus 31.8% since 1956.
It has taken S&P 500 about 5.2 years on average to recover from to above its bear market highs since 1929. If we check the same parameter starting in 1956 the average recovery time from a bear market comes out to 2.8 years on average.
If history could be of any guidance, S&P 500 could continues falling for five to nine more months by fourteen to twenty-two percent from current levels. This means that S&P 500 could fall to as low as 967 to 1068 until the end of 2008. Past performance seldom guarantees future results however. One thing will stay true though – investors who are greedy when others are fearful will reap huge benefits over the next few years as they scoop up good quality dividend companies at bargain prices. If you don’t agree with me, please check out Buffet’s recent involvement in WWY and ROH acquisitions.