(Dow Jones) The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below the 10,000-point mark today. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is off more than 12% from its April 23 high.
In other words, we're in correction mode. But the concern among financial advisors--and their clients--is whether this downward trend is heralding a return of the bear market.
With that in mind, here are how six financial experts are reacting to the latest market news:
Stephen R. Frantz, president, Tributary Capital Management, Omaha, Neb.
Bearish or bullish: Bullish
His take: "The recent volatility and correction in global equity markets should not be a huge surprise, given the unprecedented gains we've seen since the March 2009 lows. Over the near term, expect macro-economic and global concerns to drive investment decisions, leading to continued volatility and selling pressure. On a mid- to longer-term basis, the S&P 500 Index appears attractively valued, trading at about 12 times forward earnings. If the clouds lift overseas, and markets begin to discount just ugliness vs. Armageddon, you should see stocks here in the U.S. reignite a rally after a healthy 10-15% correction."
David Twibell, president of wealth management, Colorado Capital Bank, Denver
Bearish or bullish: Somewhat bullish
His take: "The jury is still out on whether this is simply a correction--as painful as it may be--or whether we're seeing a European version of the financial crisis that engulfed the U.S. system in 2008. There are very different catalysts, but the possibility of large-scale deterioration is clearly there. It is important to remember that the current environment is not the same as the one from two years ago. The world economy is improving, the debt issues facing the European Union are sovereign rather than private, corporate profits are strong and increasing, and many of the problems confronting the EU have been anticipated. That doesn't mean this cannot spiral out of control, but we are still assuming this is a correction rather than the start of a significant bear market. Having said that, I doubt we will see markets resume their uptrend anytime soon. I think the more likely scenario is that we see rotation into more defensive names and stabilization in the markets as we all digest the events of the past few quarters."
Dan Cook, senior market analyst, IG Markets, Chicago
Bearish or bullish: Bearish
His take: "We are in the midst of a true correction--and it's most likely overdue. The level of this correction is still to be seen, but there is definitely some room to move down. The recent drop has absolutely 'felt' different than the small, shallow corrections that started in June and October 2009 and January 2010. The main focus is still the European debt crisis. While traders continue paying attention to the traditional economic indicators such as employment, manufacturing data and the housing markets, they are not necessarily trading them. It is going to be hard to put together a case for the bull market to resume until some type of stability can be found in the euro zone (if it can be found) and the fear of debt contagion eases. It's also worth noting that much of the 2009-10 rally was a liquidity rally without a solid foundation. It was spurred on by cheap cash and some very large players spending that cash in equities. It was not a rally that was fueled by a large number of individual investors."