A bear market that began on the first trading day of 2022 has the S&P 500 on track for its worst first half in 52 years. Investors looking ahead to the end of the year might have some reason for hope, though history is only a rough guide. The S&P 500
was down 19.9% year-to-date through Wednesday’s close, which would be its worst first half since 1970, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The large-cap benchmark is down 20.4% from its record finish on Jan. 3. The index earlier this month first ended more than 20% below that early January record, confirming that the pandemic bull market — as widely defined — had ended on Jan. 3, marking the start of a bear.
The S&P 500 has bounced around 4% off its 2022 low close of 3,666.77 set on June 16. Data compiled by Dow Jones Market Data shows that the S&P 500 has bounced back after past first-half falls of 15% or more. The sample size, however, is small, with only five instances going back to 1932 (see table below).
S&P 500 second-half performance after a first-half fall of 15% or more
Dow Jones Market Data
The S&P 500 did rise in each of those instances, with an average rise of 23.66% and a media …