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Zigzag July, What Will August Bring?

Thursday, 28 Jul 2011 | 6:50 PM ET
Close-up of a pen on stock price chart
Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

As July comes to an end, will history repeat itself? Since 1987, August is the second-worst Dow and S&P month and fifth worst NASDAQ month, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac.

In the past eleven years, the Dow and S&P 500 have averaged a return of 0.42 percent and 0.70 percent, respectively, while the NASDAQ Composite has posted a gain of 0.95 percent.

The table below highlights the Dow's performance in August against its returns in other months. Since 2000, August has been the index’s sixth worst month:


Among the major S&P 500 sectors, nine out of ten have averaged a gain in August during the past eleven years, with defensive names such as utilites and consumer staples taking the lead.


Historic Performance in August

Dow since 1896:

  • On average, the Dow has gained 1.22 percent during August
  • Up 64 percent of the time in August, and Down 36 percent of the time
  • The best August was in 1932, when it rose 35.76 percent
  • The worst August was in 1998, when it fell -15.13 percent
  • August on average ranks as the third best month out of the year for the Dow
  • On average, the Dow has gained 0.75 percent during August when July has been a negative month, up 67 percent of the time

S&P since 1928:

  • On average, the S&P has gained 0.81 percent during August
  • Up 59 percent of the time in August, and Down 41 percent of the time
  • The best August was in 1932, when it rose 39.14 percent
  • The worst August was in 1998, when it fell -14.56 percent
  • August on average ranks as the fifth best month out of the year for the S&P
  • On average, the S&P has gained 0.44 percent during August when July has been a negative month, up 61 percent of the time

NASDAQ Composite since 1971:

  • On average, the NASDAQ Composite has gained 0.24 percent during August
  • Up 55 percent of the time in August, and Down 45 percent of the time
  • The best August was in 2000, when it rose 11.66 percent
  • The worst August was in 1998, when it fell -19.9 percent
  • August on average ranks as the third worst month out of the year for the NASDAQ
  • On average, the NASDAQ has declined -1.26 percent during August when July has been a negative month, up 50 percent of the time

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