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Thinking June swoon for stocks? You might be right

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

June swoon for stocks?

If you're looking for a reason to get bearish on the market, at least short term, history may be on your side.

That's because the month of June has typically been a rough one for investors who own stocks.


According to market data and analysis firm Kensho, June has produced some of the worst returns of any month in the year. During the past decade, all three major U.S. stock indexes have turned in negative performance on average for the month of June.

The biggest underperformer is the Dow Jones industrial average. It has been a down month for the Dow in eight of the last 10 Junes, and the index has averaged a 1.6 percent decline. The large cap S&P 500 turns in the second worst average performance, minus 1.3 percent, and has been negative in six of the last 10 Junes. The Nasdaq composite is the relative outperformer, posting a minus 0.9 percent average move, with negative occurrences in seven of the last 10 years.

When it comes to sector standouts in the S&P 500, two actually show positive average performance for the month— utilities and energy. However, even with the positive average performance in June, both sectors are positive just six of the last 10 years, so it's hardly a solid trend. The utilities sector averages a gain of 1.3 percent, and energy gains 0.8 percent.

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The two worst performing sectors are industrials and materials, both posting gains in just two out of the last 10 Junes. Industrials average a 2.4 percent decline and materials averaged a near 2 percent drop. A list of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors and their average June performance over the last 10 years is below.

Of course, the usual caveats apply. Past performance does not necessarily indicate what future performance will be. Some traders are using recent history as a guide for what might happen in the market, if history repeats itself. Given the indications from what's happened during the month of June for the last decade, some traders are taking a second look at how their positions stand with stocks near record highs.

—CNBC's Gina Francolla and Cara Caruso contributed to this report.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is a minority investor in Kensho.