Oct 30, 2023 - Economy

This year's "bull market" now looks like a bear rally

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

This year's once-significant stock market gains are slipping away fast, as the higher-for-longer rates consensus clobbers the market.

Why it matters: Remember how everybody — ahem, almost everybody — was declaring that stocks were clearly in a bull market?

  • It increasingly looks like they aren't.

The latest: The S&P 500's year-to-date gain stood at 7.2% after the close of trading on Friday.

  • That's not terrible, as the average annual gain for the index is 7.4% going back to 1929.

Yes, but: Back on Aug. 1, the S&P 500 was sitting on a gain of nearly 20% for the year.

  • That was before a series of strong reports on the economy and slightly high readings on inflation sent yields on 10-year Treasury notes up by nearly 1 percentage point.

Be smart: Stocks don't like rising yields, as we've written a-plenty.

The bottom line: Right now, it seems likely the surge in stocks earlier this year will be revealed as one of the periodic rallies bear markets are known for — rather than the start of a bull run.

Go deeper: The S&P 500's gains are almost entirely from just five companies

Go deeper