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Awful August, Get Set for September

Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 | 2:39 PM ET
Stock Trader
Stock Trader

The S&P 500 is on track to close August down about 6.2 percent, its worst monthly performance since May 2010 and worst August since 2001, when it fell 6.41 percent.

As the month comes to an end, what will September bring? Historically, September ranks as the worst month for the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite.

Indeed, in the past eleven years, the Dow and S&P 500 have averaged a return of -1.77 percent and -1.35 percent, respectively, while the NASDAQ Composite has posted a loss of -2.29 percent.

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



Among the major S&P 500 sectors, seven out of ten have averaged a loss in September during the past eleven years, with technology, materials and consumer discretionary stocks underperforming the rest of the group.


Historic Performance in September

Dow since 1896:

  • On average, the Dow has declined -1.06 percent during September
  • Up 43 percent of the time in September, and Down 57 percent of the time
  • The best September was in 1916, when it rose 12.4 percent
  • The worst September was in 1931, when it fell -30.7 percent
  • September ranks as the worst month out of the year for the Dow
  • On average, the Dow has declined -0.63 percent during September when August has been a negative month, up only half of the time

S&P since 1928:

  • On average, the S&P has declined -1.09 percent during September
  • Up 45 percent of the time in September, and Down 55 percent of the time
  • The best September was in 1939, when it rose 14.4 percent
  • The worst September was in 1931, when it fell -30.5 percent
  • September ranks as the worst month out of the year for the S&P
  • On average, the S&P has declined -0.44 percent during September when August has been a negative month, up only half of the time

NASDAQ Composite since 1971:

  • On average, the NASDAQ Composite has declined -0.53 percent during September
  • Up 55 percent of the time in September, and Down 45 percent of the time
  • The best September was in 1998, when it rose 12.98 percent
  • The worst September was in 2001, when it fell -16.98 percent
  • September ranks as the worst month out of the year for the NASDAQ
  • On average, the NASDAQ has declined -0.95 percent during September when August has been a negative month, up 56 percent of the time

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Comments? Suggestions? Send them to giovanny.moreano@nbcuni.com

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