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Fastest-Ever Bear Market Opens Book on Century of Bottom Fishing

  • A drop of 30% would take S&P 500 back to December 2018
  • Stocks falling fast as sentiment goes from euphoria to panic
Pedestrians pass in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

Pedestrians pass in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
Updated on

The bull market is over and with no sign of a bottom forming, what are the chances this sell-off turns into something really epic? Going strictly by history, the odds are not overwhelming, though the unique speed of this rout is reason for concern.

Twenty times over the last 120 years has the Dow Jones Industrial Average completed the 20% decline that traditionally defines a bear market. In 12 of those instances the pain kept going for another 10 percentage points -- including the two before this one.