What to do as S&P 500 moves into bear market territory

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Financial markets closed with a whimper on Tuesday after pummeling Americans’ wallets over the past week and the year to date.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index comprised of 30 of the world’s biggest and most well-known companies, finished down nearly 152 points on Tuesday, bringing it down 17% year to date. The NASDAQ index is down nearly 32% in 2022.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the overall economy, just this week entered “bear market” territory, which is when the index closes more than 20% lower than its most recent high. Economists fear bear markets signal the start of a recession.

That’s especially true now as portfolio managers watch to see if the Federal Reserve under or overreacts to the highest levels of inflation in 40 years.

For Americans saving for retirement, college or a new house, these times can be scary. But some financial experts say doing nothing could be the best advice.

“So the advice for most people is just stick it out,” said financial planner Mari Adam. “Don’t try to change your portfolio now.”

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will decide whether and by how much to raise interest rates. The Fed had signaled an increase of 0.5%, but markets now seem to be expecting a 3/4-point rate increase. Raising the cost of borrowing is one of the Fed’s primary tools to fight the rising prices of inflation.