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Coronavirus unleashes investor panic and now the stock market is at a historic oversold level

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

One minor positive amongst the coronavirus fueled stock market carnage that has wiped away $6 trillion in global equity value since Jan. 20: Stocks are starting to look insanely oversold.

The percentage of stocks that are internally oversold in the S&P 500 is now the fourth highest since 1957, according to RenMac president and CEO Jeff deGraaf. The unwelcome metric follows a 4.42% drubbing for the S&P 500 on Thursday, marking its worst one-day return since Aug. 18, 2011. Meanwhile, the percentage of S&P 500 stocks making negative volatility alerts are the highest dating back to the early 2018 lows.

“By all standards, the market is now in historic oversold territory. These deep oversold conditions have historically created strong forward returns especially when the trends are this solid,” deGraaf says.

But one would be foolish to think the extreme oversold conditions right now means to back up the truck on stocks. Stocks — notably cruise lines such as Carnival (CCL) and chip player Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) — certainly looked oversold earlier this week. But then comes a session like Thursday’s where losses accelerated into the close and the Dow crashed more than 1,100 points.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo by Don Emmert / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

“Investors have done a ‘one eighty’ – from a muted overly confident reaction to the serious and far-reaching global issue of coronavirus to running like headless chickens. Both extremes are worrying and could potentially wreak havoc on investors’ returns,” said deVere Group founder and CEO Nigel Green.

Green added, “However, the worst global market selloff since the 2008 crash will almost certainly become an important buying opportunity for many investors.”

Perhaps, but maybe not yet.

Programming note: Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade will be live 30 minutes early on Friday, at 8:30 a.m. ET, to bring you all the analysis you need on this topsy turvy market. You can tune in on the Yahoo Finance network on Verizon FIOS channel 604, yahoofinance.com, the Yahoo Finance app, Apple TV, Roku, and Samsung TV.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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