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All that’s missing from a correction: a theme

The S&P 500 is down less than 2 per cent from its record high close, but the slight reversal nonetheless adds some urgency to a key issue that has been hanging over the market: Where the heck is the correction?

The U.S. benchmark index last suffered a peak-to-trough decline of 10 per cent or more in 2011, when it fell 19 per cent between April and October. It has been 31 months of relatively smooth sailing since then, which is well above the historical average of 18 months between corrections.