In our opinion, the latest bear market started on January 3, 2022 and ended on October 12, 2022. The S&P 500 fell 25.4% over that 282-day span. The decline was led by a 30% drop in the forward P/E of the S&P 500 and a 6.2% increase in forward earnings over that period.
At the beginning of last year, we expected a correction, not a bear market. In fact, the S&P 500 was in bear-market territory (with a decline of 20% or more) for only 45 of the bear market’s 282 calendar days. It was a relatively short bear market (assuming that it ended on October 12, as we do). The average length of the 21 bear markets prior to this one since September 7, 1929, was 344 days; it was 367 days counting just the 12 post-WWII bear markets. (See our Stock Market Historical Tables: Bull & Bear Markets.)