U.S. stocks continued their slide toward a bear market, with the S&P 500 dipping 20 per cent below its Jan. 3 closing record. Treasuries and the dollar gained as havens caught bids.

The benchmark lost 1.7 per cent in afternoon trading. A close at that level would meet the common definition for a bear market. At the end of another volatile week, price swings are likely to be exacerbated by the monthly expiration of options tied to equities and exchange-traded funds. 

The S&P 500 is headed for its seventh weekly decline that would make the longest losing streak since the dotcom bubble burst more than two decades ago. It will be just its fourth streak of seven or more weekly losses in the post-World War II period, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

“It’s a small sample size, but these types of streaks haven’t occurred during particularly positive periods for the equity market,” wrote the firm’s strategists in a note. “The root causes of the weakness have been the hawkish FOMC and increasing concerns over the potential for a recession.”

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In a week marked by buy-the-dip, sell-the-rally price action, investors grappled with concerns about an economic slowdown and retailers signaled the mounting impact of high inflation on margins and consumer spending. Sentiment got a boost early Friday after Chinese lenders lowered the five-year loan prime rate by a record amount in an effort to boost mortgages and loans amid a property slump and Covid lockdowns. 

More Commentary

  • “A lot of the excesses have been wrung out, especially out of the more speculative segments of the market,” Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, said in a note. “In times like this, volatility and pullbacks are always uncomfortable and come with bad news, but they are also the admission price to being in the market with the potential for higher long-term returns relative to most other asset classes.”
  • “No sign yet of the Fed being unhappy about tighter financial conditions so far, and markets are continuing to fully price in two further 50bp moves from the Fed in June and July,” wrote Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid. “Nobody said getting inflation back to target from such lofty levels would be easy. So if you’re looking for a Fed put, it may take a while.”

In the latest developments over Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Senate passed a more than US$40 billion Ukraine aid package, sending the bill to President Joe Biden for his signature. Meanwhile, the Group of Seven industrialized nations will agree on more than 18 billion euros (US$19 billion) in aid for Ukraine, according to German Finance Minister Christian Lindner.


  • The S&P 500 fell 1.7 per cent as of 1:03 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 fell 2.6 per cent
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4 per cent
  • The MSCI World index fell 0.8 per cent


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2 per cent
  • The euro fell 0.4 per cent to US$1.0550
  • The British pound was little changed at US$1.2474
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 127.69 per dollar


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined six basis points to 2.78 per cent
  • Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at 0.94 per cent
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced three basis points to 1.89 per cent


  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.3 per cent to US$111.86 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 0.1 per cent to US$1,845.20 an ounce