September: The crazy market month that wasn't

For stocks, the month of September has ended just as it started: flat.

The S&P 500 started the month with an utterly flat session, dropping just 0.004 percent. After a slide earlier in the month and a more recent rebound, the index has now logged a whopping September move of … negative 0.12 percent.

To make it even weirder, this follows an identical August drop of 0.12 percent.

But interestingly, September's market has been much more volatile than August's. Among this month's 21 sessions, 12 have seen the S&P rise or fall by more than half of a percent. By comparison, only 5 of August's 23 sessions have seen such a move, according to a CNBC analysis of FactSet data.

To put it another way, the difference between August 2016 and September 2016 is that in the latter, the market took bigger steps on the road to nowhere.

Thursday's and Friday's moves serve as a case in point.

On Thursday, the S&P tumbled as much as 1.2 percent as the latest round of Deutsche Bank headlines spooked investors; on Friday, it rose as much as 1.1 percent on a new, more bullish and even less credible round of Deutsche Bank headlines.

By the time it was all said and done, the S&P ended the week — and the month, and the quarter — an eye-glazing 0.14 percent lower than where it closed on Wednesday.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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