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The stock market is rife with generalizations, from “sell in May and go away,” to “buy on the rumor, sell on the news.” One such piece of common stock wisdom would have investors white-knuckling their way through the month of September.
LPL Financial’s Ryan Detrick, in a recent research note, called it the “banana peel month” for stocks. Septembers for nearly the past 100 years have seen stocks slip and fall. In fact, since 1928, no month has had a lower return on average (July is typically the strongest).
Since 1928, September has been the only month that hasn’t seen the S&P 500 climb higher than the preceding month at least 50 percent of the time. The most egregious example came in September 1931, when the S&P fell 30 percent.
Does this bode poorly for September 2017? There’s no way to be certain, as every market maxim has witnessed exceptions that disprove the rule.
While the market tends to do better when the S&P starts September trading above its 200 day moving average — as 2017 did — with a Fed meeting, global political tensions and never-ending drama out of Washington, D.C., this September may not fit so easily into established patterns.
In his research, Detrick said, “Although the economy is still quite strong … we’d be surprised [if] volatility didn’t pick up given how calm things have been this year.”
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