Stocks down 3% in January! If history repeats ...

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January effect: Is it real?

U.S. stocks are on pace to close a volatile January in the red, after posting the best yearly gain in 16 years.

With less than two hours until the end of trading Friday, the was trading around 1790, down just over 3 percent for the month. It is on track for its first January loss since 2009, and the largest monthly decrease in eight months.

Similarly, the Dow is off by almost 5 percent this year, while the Nasdaq has fallen 1.5 percent.

As January goes, so goes the year?