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Summer Market Swoons - 2008 vs. History

With Labor Day weekend coming this week, the markets have had a tough summer. Is this a normal part of "sell in May" or is this year different? While the Dow and S&P are down over 6% since Memorial Day, they are far better off than their worst summer in 1974. Here's how this year compares for the major indices.

Summer Performance (Memorial Day to Labor Day)

  • Dow (As of Friday's close): Down - 6.8%
    • Since 1900
      • Avg gain +3.2%
      • Up 64% of the time, down 36% of the time
      • Biggest gain + 62% in 1932
      • Biggest drop - 17% in 1974
    • Last 5 yrs (2003-07)
      • Avg gain +2.0%
      • Up 60% of the time, down 40% of the time
      • Biggest gain + 9.5% in 2003
      • Biggest drop - 1.1% in 2007
  • S&P (As of Friday's close): Down - 6.1%
    • Since 1928
      • Avg gain +3.8%
      • Up 69% of the time, down 31% of the time
      • Biggest gain + 83% in 1932
      • Biggest drop - 19% in 1974
    • Last 5 yrs (2003-07)
      • Avg gain +1.7%
      • Up 60% of the time, down 40% of the time
      • Biggest gain + 8.0% in 2003
      • Biggest drop - 2.8% in 2007
  • Nasdaq (As of Friday's close): Down - 1.2%
    • Since 1971
      • Avg gain +1.9%
      • Up 59% of the time, down 41% of the time
      • Biggest gain + 32% in 2001
      • Biggest drop - 23% in 1974
    • Last 5 yrs (2003-07)
      • Avg gain +3.3%
      • Up 60% of the time, down 40% of the time
      • Biggest gain + 19.9% in 2003
      • Biggest drop - 7.2% in 2007

Despite the down summer, there have been some summer winners. The best performers of the Dow this summer have been:

  • Johnson & Johnson , up 10.0% for the summer
  • McDonalds , up 9.9% for the summer
  • Proctor & Gamble , up 9.7% for the summer
  • Wal Mart , up 6.6% for the summer
  • Hewlett Packard , up 4.7% for the summer

Weighing on the Dow this summer have been

  • AIG , down 46.2% for the summer
  • GM , down 40.7% for the summer
  • Alcoa , down 19.8% for the summer
  • Boeing , down 19.6% for the summer
  • AT&T , down 19.1% for the summer

Comments? Send them to bythenumbers@cnbc.com

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