Wednesday's market blowout brought back the feelings and fears of other historical selloffs, including the risk-off liquidation earlier this year, in February. What's sets Wednesday's 832 point drop in the DJIA was the concentration of losses in contrast to the broad based selling of this year's earlier correction.
Wednesday's violent equity sell-off may be just what the doctor ordered, but it was painful to watch.
Jamie Cox at Harris Financial Group said, "This was way different than February and March," about this year's earlier downturn, which was ignited by fears of inflation.
What defined today's rout was the way that individual stocks that make up the Dow behaved. Some folks thought that of long overdue pullback in tech as healthy and normal. Tech-sector stocks were off 4.8%, and Apple's fall accounted for 67.5 Dow points alone.
"The FAANG stocks, the Amazons of the world, they are up ridiculous. Those are momentum-type trades. A little air coming out is a healthy thing as long as fundamentals haven't changed. I don't have a problem with that type of sell-off," said Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading.
Several factors were offered by a variety of market watchers:
1) Concerns the Fed will aggressively raise rates,
2) Concerns issued by tech firms that tariffs on Chinese imports will send costs higher, within their supply chains, and to the end user, and,
3) Concerns that the pace of earnings growth is unsustainable, and expectations for corporate profits are waning.
These factors, along with trading momentum set off by trading algorithms were behind some of Wednesday's selling panic.
Quincy Crosby, Chief Market Strategist at Prudential Financial said, "People are taking cover." He added, "One of the things that is helpful is when you're pretty negative going into earnings season, then positive surprises do help. The shorts have to cover."
Buybacks may prove to lend support to the market under the circumstances, as many companies have committed to aggressively repurchasing their own shares, and now that some of those shares are cheaper, we could see them follow through, which would be a positive development.
There was a great deal more sponsorship, belief in the fundamentals back in February and March, as well as a greater inclination from companies to support their stock prices via buybacks, and that played a big role in the market's recovery from that correction, to the recent all-time highs. Back in January, we saw the market melt up and get way out in front of its skis, and then pullback. Once the air had come out, then we saw an upward move.
Brad McMillan, CIO for Commonwealth Financial said, on the other hand, "I don't think this past week's pullback was something more fundamental."
In a nutshell, the difference is that this week's selloff has been narrower, lacking breadth, and February's selloff was broad-based, had breadth.