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How to keep calm when the top ASX 200 shares fell lower yesterday

S&P/ASX 200 Index (INDEXASX: XJO) shares had a tough day yesterday as the benchmark Aussie index had its worst day since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The ASX 200 shed 455.60 points (7.33%) yesterday or a total of $140 billion in value.

Perhaps the most telling sign of the carnage in Aussie equities was the top-performing stock list. There were only three ASX 200 shares that finished higher on Monday including Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM). Shares in the Aussie miner climbed 2.54% higher as investors flocked to the perceived safety of gold.

However, rounding out the top 5 performers on Monday were Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) and Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX: CQR). Evolution was the fourth-best performing after edging 0.23% lower while Charter Hall Retail REIT shares fell 1.02% lower into fifth spot. 

Why ASX 200 shares were smashed on Monday

I think the fact that the fourth and fifth-best performing ASX 200 shares closed lower is an indication of just how bad Monday’s trade was for investors. However, the damage was so much worse in the bottom 5 shares yesterday.

The Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) share price fell an astonishing 35.17% in just one day yesterday. The oil and gas explorer’s shares hit a new 52-week low of $3.27 per share on Monday which hasn’t been seen that low since the GFC. However, it was far from the only ASX 200 share to be hammered lower yesterday. The ASX Energy sector plummeted 25.01% yesterday while the Materials sector fell 10.51% lower.

Is it time to steer clear or buy more?

There is a saying that goes, “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”. In theory that sounds great, but it’s much harder to actually put your money where your mouth is.

I’m personally feeling a little bearish watching all those red numbers on the ASX right now. If you’re a brave investor, however, there could be buying opportunities in ASX 200 shares right now.

I think the main way to keep calm is to trust your investment strategy. As a buy-and-hold investor, I don’t think it’s worth crystalising my losses by selling ASX shares right now.

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Motley Fool contributor Ken Hall has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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 Scott Phillips.