SALT LAKE CITY — With shares on the New York Stock Exchange losing 4.6 percent in value on Monday on top of significant losses from Friday, some investors were left reeling after the prolonged market rise over the past few years.
But a Utah economist said the drop was to be expected based on previous experience.
"The market went up about 6 percent in January, that's a huge amount for one month," said Jeff Steagall, economics professor and dean of the Goddard School of Business & Economics at Weber State University. "If it's going up 6 percent in January, it's coming back down (at some point). It just looked like (the market) was overvalued."
He said market "corrections" happen regularly during economic cycles, and this situation should be no different.
Steagall said investors are “jittery” about a potential rise in inflation. While inflation has been relatively low for several years, Steagall said some fears arose last week when employment data showed wages increasing and employment levels remaining high, which can prompt inflation to climb as consumers demand more goods but there aren't enough workers to produce the necessary supply.
"People are worried about inflation," he said. "The ability to buy houses, cars and things like that are very interest rate sensitive."
He said inflation around 2 percent to 2.5 percent is considered economically advantageous, which is where the country's rate has been for some time and the nation's economy has prospered.
"That's a very manageable number," he said. "You can still have good economic growth with inflation at that rate."
While be believes the inflation rate will likely remain stable, he is unsure what impact the new federal tax cuts may have on markets and the overall economy.9 comments on this story
Nevertheless, he said the stock market should begin to rebound toward stability in the coming weeks.
"The market was just overvalued, and one piece of bad news about wages going up caused some reaction on Friday and (political wrangling in Washington) over the weekend certainly didn't help anybody feel better about where the country is headed," Steagall said. "On Monday, they jumped out of the market some more, but they'll trying to get back into the market probably within the next week or so."