With Europe also struggling to contain inflation, which is already being driven higher by energy prices, “this could be a serious problem for the eurozone economy,” said Fiona Cincotta, an analyst at City Index in London.

The Stoxx Europe 600 and the DAX index in Germany both slipped 3.8% on Monday.

As sudden as the decline in stock prices was this month, it follows a relentless acceleration that had begun to piss off some investors. The S&P 500 climbed 27% in 2021 — its third straight year of gains – and even after falling so far in January, the stock index is still around double its low point in March 2020, before the Fed first stepped in to support the economy.

Those gains continued late last year even as food and gas prices soared at rates not seen in years, as well as wages, and despite the overhang of the coronavirus pandemic. Speculators had also turned to investments as varied as cryptocurrencies, real estate and even trading cards and other collectibles, alarming many who saw signs that investors were getting carried away. .

So a price drop that removes some of that excess was long overdue, many market watchers said.

“We haven’t had a correction in a long time,” said Lindsey Bell, chief money and market strategist at Ally Invest. “While this selling off over the past two weeks is uncomfortable, the good news is that the sooner you have a sell off or a correction like we are seeing today, the sooner and more likely you are to make up for that lost loss. land before the end of the year.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be a turbulent year for stock market investors. Corporate earnings growth is expected to slow, especially among big tech stocks, and many companies championed by investors during the pandemic, such as Peloton and Netflix, have fallen as the return to normal means they are losing money. momentum with new customers.

But some investors fear that even the biggest tech companies will falter, which will be exacerbated if interest rates rise – forcing them to spend more of their profits on debt repayment, and also making it harder to achieve. investors’ high expectations for growth. .

Tech stocks, which have been at the forefront of the market decline this year, were also hit on Monday: the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid about 5%, before rebounding to end the day with a gain of about 0.6%. The Nasdaq had already crossed the correction threshold last week and is now down 13.7% from its high.