Seven months ago near the depths of the virus-induced economic slide, the Investment Strategy Group report, A Gap Year, analogized the economy and stock market with graduating college seniors taking a year off as immediate admission to graduate school often was not possible.
Unknowns about virus mitigation, the massive economic deterioration, and the possible sluggishness in a recovery had many economists and market strategists essentially writing off most, and possibly all, of 2020. Essentially, 2020 was viewed as a gap year for the economy and the stock market. Few people back then realized that the gap in 2020 would be filled and provide an education along the way.
February 19, 2020, marked the stock market’s first 2020 peak. As more became known about the spread of COVID-19, stocks fell rapidly. On March 23, the S&P 500 hit an intraday low at 2191.86, down 35.4% from its February 19 intraday high.