While this is worrying, to put it mildly, and sentiment is diabolical, investors should recall an extremely important behavioural conditioning process. The crowd has always turned progressively more bearish with each additional decline towards the eventual low for every bear market. This is inevitable as more people sell, and unfortunately, few are more bearish than a battered holdout who finally capitulates. Think back to every bear market that you can recall: the crowd was most bearish at the low. This psychological process also works in reverse, causing the crowd to be most bullish at the top of bull markets because practically everyone is playing the game.(Note: opinions not necessarily those of this LJ. Other than the title.)
We have seen fundamental selling, technical selling, forced (deleveraging) selling, short selling capitulation selling and selling due to ennui. Fourteen and a half more days like yesterday, and the S&P 500 Index would be at zero, which somehow I doubt we will see. A key reason for the big percentage declines is that we are also seeing a buyers' strike, other than occasional bouts of short covering.
If global stock markets are not close to a major buying opportunity, then I suggest we should all head to sea and become Somali pirates.