“To us that would be a point where you want to think about increasing your exposure. We don’t think this is a bear market. We don’t think this is the start of a bear market because we don’t see a recession on the horizon, but … at this time of year it’s very typical for typical for the market to get wobbly and liquidity at this time of year is not great because quite simply there are so man y out of office emails when we try to contact our clients,” Emanuel said. “People would prefer to the be on the beach than looking at their portfolios. That can create vacuums like we’ve seen today.”
Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, agreed that around the 2337 level is a logical support level for the S&P, and he too expects the selling to continue. Stovall said the last major selloff was the more than 10 percent correction that ended in February, 2016.
“Normally we have pullbacks at least once a year, corrections every year and a bear market every four-plus years,” he said. A pullback is a five to 10 percent selloff, while a correction is 10 percent or more.
Analysts said Friday could be choppy as well, as investors hunker down and hedge positions ahead of the weekend.
“We were looking for a pullback. Statistically, this is the period where the market tends to pull back….you had a tired market, an overbought market. It’s almost like the market was waiting for something to hit, and it did — a geopolitical test,” said Prudential Financial chief market strategist Quincy Krosby.
Krosby said the question now is whether the “dip buyers” will step in, a phenomena that could keep a sell off relatively shallow.
Stovall said he does not expect a bear market to develop.
“When I look at housing starts, consumer sentiment, [leading economic indicators] and the yield curve, they all tell me now we’re not near a recession. If we do have a sharp decline, it’s based on the market worrying a recession will occur because of some fallout from nuclear tensions,” he said.
As stocks sold off, investors moved into safety trades, like Treasurys and gold. High-yield debt also sold off.
Neha Khoda , Bank of America Merrill lynch high yield credit strategist, said there was heavy selling in high yield ETFs, and spreads widened between high yield bonds and Treasurys. The iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF HYG fell 0.6 percent Thursday.
“I think people were feeling a little concerned about valuations in high yield,” she said. “You could say they were a little bit concerned, but I think the direction has certainly changed in the last two days. … Having said that, the only caveat I would make here is ETFs are usually the first to react in any sort of uncertainty. Whether the change is good or bad, ETFs are the first to react.”