NEW YORK CITY, New York: After the first six months of 2022, the S&P 500 recorded a loss of 20.6 percent, shedding some $8.5 trillion in market value, its steepest first-half decline since 1970.
Earlier this month, the index closed down over 20 percent from its January record peak, confirming the common definition of a bear market.
Bonds also fared badly, with the ICE BofA Treasury Index being some 10 percent down this year, in line with the worst year in its history going back to 1997.
Amidst concerns that the Fed's efforts to curb inflation could potentially bring the U.S. economy into recession, investors see little respite, and the index's slide has pummeled many high-performing shares that prospered in recent years.
One such casualty is Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF, which is down some 58 percent year-to-date.
The downturn in equities also severely tested the popular strategy of buying stocks on weakness, which rewarded investors for the better part of the last decade, but has not been successful this year.
Another popular approach that has failed in 2022 is the "60/40 portfolio" containing both stocks and bonds, which has been affected by expectations of a hawkish Federal Reserve Bank, which has weighed on both asset classes. Since the start of the year, the BlackRock 60/40 Target Allocation fund is down some 16 percent, its worst performance since its launch in 2006.
Amidst central bank actions and surging geopolitical tensions, the first half of the year saw volatility return to global financial markets, with stocks, bonds and currencies all being affected.
Until there is an indication that inflation is stabilizing, allowing the Fed to slow or end its monetary policy tightening, few believe the wild swings in markets will end soon.