Need to Know: When to buy during an ugly stock market rout? These charts have the answers.

There is some good news out there as the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak — Wuhan — reports no infections for the first time, though elsewhere cases are rising.

And financial behemoths have turned the coronavirus fire hoses on full blast, with the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank both announcing big new measures to calm markets overnight. That seems to be working just a little bit, though relief may be fleeting. Still, the 25% drop for the S&P 500 so far this year has tempted some big investors back in:

But those big players don’t represent the majority. The carnage across global markets, constant coronavirus bad news updates, lockdowns, precarious grocery-store visits and employment uncertainty make getting out of bed in the morning a major achievement.

Our call of the day comes from Michael Batnick, director of research at Ritholtz Wealth Management, who asks shellshocked investors to take a deep breath and observe some bear-market history.

“When is the right time to buy stocks?” he asks in a blog post. “It doesn’t matter when you buy, only that you buy,” is his answer. He highlights charts showing when past bear markets have bottomed — in red. To be sure, where we are in that process now is something no one really wants to wager on.

Here are his examples, starting with 1932:

Irrelevant Investor

The early 1960s:

Irrelevant Investor


Irrelevant Investor

And while the coronavirus crisis could rip up the bear-market playbook, if this chart is anything to go by, they do end, as he notes:

Irrelevant Investor

Batnick says those sitting on cash and scared of more stock meltdowns should break up purchases, perhaps picking one day of the month to buy for the first four months.

”Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be rocket science, it just has to exist. It’s also worth saying the obvious, which is that you don’t have to have 100% of your portfolio invested in stocks,” he says. Read the full blog here.

We are clearly in for a rough time, so stay safe out there and keep your chin up. Here are some Spanish Carrefour supermarket workers, definitely in the front lines of Europe’s virus battle:

The market

Choppy Dow YM00, -2.05%, S&P ES00, -1.93% and Nasdaq-100 NQ00, -1.11% futures are pointing to losses, but to a lesser degree, while European stocks SXXP, -0.37%are mixed. Asia markets ADOW, -3.77%had a rough session. Oil prices CL00, +10.41% are rebounding.

Read:How a ‘disorderly’ U.S. dollar is amplifying the stock selloff and adding to volatility

The buzz

The ECB announced the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme — a new expanded bond-buying program, hours after the Federal Reserve broadened its support to include money market mutual funds. And Australia’s central bank cut interest rates.

Automobile makers General Motors GM, -17.32% and Ford F, -10.18% are reportedly in talks with the White House to switch to making medical equipment.

Younger people are not as safe from coronavirus as they think.

Amazon-owned AMZN, +1.23% Whole Foods Markets has joined other grocery stores in adjusting its hours and setting aside a time for vulnerable senior citizens to shop. Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson HOG, -11.54% will suspend U.S. operations until end-March after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

Weekly jobless claims are ahead and will be watched for signs coronavirus-related layoffs. Also coming are current account data and the Philly Fed manufacturing index. Leading economic indicators are due later.

The tweet
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