Market crash: Is now the time to sell your shares?

It’s hasn’t been a pleasant start to the 2016 calendar year for investors with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) sinking for a second day.

After losing over 1% on Monday, the index has gone on to lose approximately 1.5% on Tuesday.

The falls on the ASX have come after an upbeat lead into the final days of trade for 2015 and have been caused by a sharp sell-off in Chinese equities which spread around the globe.

Overnight on Wall Street the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones both lost around 1.5%.

Amongst the majors, the biggest casualties on the ASX on Tuesday included a 2.7% drop in QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE), a 2.4% slump in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) and a 1.7% decline in Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW).

One of the few stocks to buck the trend was JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) which no doubt was finding some buying support after news broke that competitor Dick Smith Holdings Ltd (ASX: DSH) had been placed into voluntary administration.

As we head towards the all-important February reporting season which will provide an opportunity for investors to assess the interim or full year results for the majority of ASX-listed companies, now is a timely opportunity to review your portfolio.

For many investors their initial reaction may be to sell now to avoid the pain of any further paper losses – this is rarely the best strategy.

Rather, investors who remain focussed on owning a portfolio of shares which are trading below a conservative assessment of fair value is a proven strategy for long-term wealth accumulation.

Instead of worrying about the market’s volatility, focusing on company specific matters is generally a better use of an investor’s time.

If conditions do continue to deteriorate don't panic.

Is a share-market crash coming? Get our analysts' exclusive inside take now, in The Motley Fool's newly updated report, "What to Do When the Sharemarket Crashes" -- including expert tips on how to protect YOUR portfolio. Click here for your FREE copy now.

Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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