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Heavy Selling: Indexes Toward Correction Levels

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Another trading day deep in the red this Tuesday has sent the small-cap Russell 2000 index into correction territory, -3% for the day and -14% from its highs set just last November. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is now down more than -10% from its all-time highs just two months ago, and -7% year to date. The Dow tumbled -1.51% on the day, for its worst single-day of trading so far this year, -542 points.

We saw evidence of bearish sentiment during this morning’s pre-market activity, when we noticed the 10-year t-bill yield notching up over 1.8% for the first time in a long time. It’s gone up higher since: to +1.875% as of Tuesday’s close, to its highest point since the fall of 2019 — before Covid was even a known term. The 2-year crossed past +0.8% last week and reached +1.05% today. Higher interest rates are coming — that’s the message. So shedding high valuations in portfolio holdings is now a thing.

Not only high-growth stocks like tech are feeling the impact of this slashing bear sentiment: the big Wall Street banks, upon Q4 earnings releases, were the smart-money’s supposed safe haven. Trouble is, mixed results for JPMorgan JPM, Citigroup C and Goldman Sachs GS have helped these stocks dump -4%, -2.4% and -7%, respectively, on the day. Morgan Stanley MS, which doesn’t report til tomorrow, sold off -5% today.

In the interest of taking a deep breath and gaining a bit of perspective from this vantage point, let’s take a look at interest rates from an historical perspective. That 10-year closing in on +1.9%? It was +3.26% back in October 2018. And while we did see a downward finish to that year’s trading, marking the last time the S&P 500 closed lower for a full calendar year, 2019 marked a strong surge higher, which was matched following the initial Covid pullback in early 2020 by mid-that year.

In short, troughs like these present opportunities. We’re no longer looking at a “dartboard market,” where hitting a ticker on the S&P arbitrarily would yield double or triple-digit returns; currently market participants must choose widely to ensure solid returns. But with indexes taking a bath so far in 2022, aside from the first couple trading days of the year, there are for sure bargains to be had.

Take Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)-rated NVIDIA NVDA, for instance. The creator of the GPU and leader in the graphic chip space has always carried a high valuation, but continues to take share in its space and stay ahead of the innovation curve. Video games, crypto and A.I. are all big users of graphic chips, and this provides NVIDIA with plenty of market-leading business for the foreseeable future.

Well, NVIDIA was down -3.86% today, and has fallen -33.77% from its 52-week highs. Its P/E ration is back below nosebleed levels, and it has expected EPS growth over the next 3-5 years of over 19%. This is merely one example, but anyone who’d been decrying the sticker shot of buying NVIDIA shares in the past few years now has far less to get hung up about. Just saying.

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