The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO), and ASX 200 shares by extension, has had a pretty rough time over the past few months. As of yesterday's close, the ASX 200 is sitting at 7,210.5 points. The index is up by more than 1% from the lows we saw earlier this month. However, it remains down 2.7% over the past month and 0.6% over the past six months.
Not only that, but the ASX 200 is also nearly 5% off of the 52-week high of 7,567.7 points that we saw back in January, as well as 5.5% lower than the all-time high of around 7,630 points that was recorded in August 2021.
Zooming even further out, one could convincingly argue that ASX 200 shares have gone almost nowhere in more than three years. The index recorded a pre-COVID high of 7,139 points back on 21 February 2020. Today, the ASX 200 is just 1% higher than it was on that date around three and a half years ago. Check all of that out for yourself below:
Is it a good time to buy ASX 200 shares right now?
So what can we learn from all of this? Well, I think the main takeaway is that it's a great time to buy ASX 200 shares. I never try to time the market when it comes to buying, preferring to invest as much as I can, as soon as I can. But what I do see in the current market conditions makes me even more eager to buy shares right now.
This confidence is built on two historical trends. The first trend is that the markets have always gone up far more often than they go down. That's why we are currently sitting at levels close to the peak we saw in 2020, not 1990. And secondly, the stock market has never failed to exceed a previous all-time high. As we established above, the last all-time high came back in 2021. Before that, it was the pre-COVID high of 2020.
The stock market doesn't do guarantees. However, I think that assuming that the ASX 200 surpasses its 2021 high at some point in the future, as it has always done in the past, is a pretty safe bet. As such, it makes sense (at least to me) to buy up quality ASX shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) right now while it is trading comfortably below 7,500 points.
So I'm buying quality ASX 200 shares. I bought some in August and hopefully will do it again in September. And if the markets drop next month? Well, then I'll be buying even more.