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A correction in more than half of the S&P 500 could be bullish

VIDEO0:5600:56
Average S&P stock still in correction, but that could be bullish

A major market sell-off on Wednesday swept the  4 percent from its all-time highs. For a surprisingly large number of stocks, it looks even worse. 

Around 60 percent of the S&P 500 is in a correction, having dropped more than 10 percent from 52-week highs, while just over 130 components have fallen at least 20 percent. The worst hit, Newell Brands, is down 58 percent.

Michael Batnick, director of research at Ritholtz Wealth Management, says this could actually be a bullish sign for the stock market.

"When you have these corrections under the surface, the lagging stocks catch up to the index, and it's no harm, no foul… Every time in the past where we've seen either a VIX spike or a washout where we see 52-week lows spike, that has been a really good buying opportunity, " he said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation. ", referring to Cboe's volatility index.

A peak in volatility and spike in stocks at 52-week lows in February, for example, led to a rebound on the S&P 500 during the following six-month stretch. During that February sell-off, the VIX peaked to over 50, a multiyear high, while the S&P 500 tumbled nearly 12 percent.

The opposite scenario where most stocks rally alongside the broader index would be a worry to Batnick.

"If we were in a situation where all stocks were hitting 52-week highs, that would be euphoria and that would be much more of a reason to turn cautious as opposed to what we're seeing today, which is some stocks are going up, and some stocks are going down and this is pretty normal behavior," he said.

Just 50 S&P 500 stocks were less than 2 percent from 52-week highs on Tuesday.

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A stealth correction under the market’s surface could be a bull sign for stocks