A pandemic ended a U.S. bull market and pushed the financial system to the brink of collapse. Then stocks rallied, only to stall again. Investors are still piecing together what happened.
The first half of 2020 was the most dizzying selloff-turned-comeback many investors have witnessed in decades of working on Wall Street.
Stocks, commodities and bond prices careened in March as what experts had described as a mysterious illness circulating around central China morphed into a global pandemic. The longest-ever bull market for stocks came to an abrupt end, its demise caused not by a central bank misstep or a global trade war but by the economic fallout from Covid-19. At one point, it appeared the financial system itself was on the brink of collapse.
Then something unbelievable happened on March 23: Stocks bottomed out.