Fears of a recession briefly pushed stocks back into bear market territory Monday, and history showed losses could accelerate if an economic downturn does arrive, according to RBC. The Wall Street firm studied U.S. recessions and market performance since the 1930s, and it found that the S & P 500 has fallen an average of 32% from peak to trough during those downturns. The pullback in the equity benchmark has lasted 381 days on average, RBC said. The S & P 500 dropped 3.2% Monday to hit a new intraday low for the year. The benchmark is now off about 21% from its record, back in bear market territory after trading there briefly on an intraday basis about three weeks ago. The sharp decline was triggered by a hotter-than-expected inflation report, which made investors believe the Federal Reserve will hike rates even more dramatically to squash surging prices. The U.S. consumer price index rose last month by 8.6% from a year ago , its fastest increase since December 1981. “Following Friday’s CPI print, fears that the Fed will tighten the US economy into a recession ramped up sharply again,” Lori Calvasina, RBC’s head of U.S. equity strategy, said in a note. RBC sees potential downside in the S & P 500 to a little over 3,200 if its 2022 low gets taken out, representing a 32% drawdown from its record high from early January. The magnitude of the expected sell-off would be in line with the average recession drawdown, RBC said. “It’s worth noting that the pandemic drawdown in early 2022 was 34%, making us think this is a reasonable starting point for thinking about how low the S & P 500 could go this time in a recession drawdown,” Calvasina said. A widely followed Fed gauge, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker , is indicating that the U.S. economy could be headed for a second consecutive quarter of negative growth, meeting a rule-of-thumb definition for a recession. The tracker is now pointing to an annualized gain of just 0.9% for the second quarter. The economy contracted by 1.5% in the first quarter.