With an ugly close, US and global markets bid good riddance to February

  • February was the worst month in two years as we snapped a 10-month win streak.
  • The last time we did that was 1959.
  • Globally markets were down between 5 percent and 8 percent.
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Getty Images
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Well that was an ugly close. What happened? A combination of a big drop in oil, a substantial amount of sell orders at the close and a strengthening dollar brought stocks to the lows of the day.

The S&P dropped 10 percent in the middle of the month but only ended February down 3.9 percent. Still, it was the worst month in two years as we snapped a 10-month win streak. The last time we did that was 1959. The Dow didn't do any better. It registered its first February decline in nine years.

S&P 500: Snapping a win streak in February

S&P 500 down 3.9 percent

Worst since January 2016

Snapped 10-month win streak

Last 10-month win streak: February 1959

Source: CNBC

It wasn't just a wild month in the U.S. Overseas, a lot of long-term trends fell, too. Let's start in Asia. China's Shanghai and Hang Seng exchanges turned in their worst months since January 2016.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 8.5 percent, its worst month since June 2016, while Korea was down 5.4 percent, its worst month since June 2013. Even India dropped 5 percent, its worst month since February 2016.

Asia exchanges also struggled in February

Shanghai: down 6.4 percent, worst since January 2016

Hang Seng : down 6.2 percent, worst since January 2016

Japan: down 8.5 percent, worst since June 2016

Korea: down 5.4 percent, worst since June 2013

India: down 5 percent, worst since Feb. 2016

Source: CNBC

It wasn't any better in Europe. Germany was down 5.7 percent, its worst month since January 2016. Spain was down 5.9 percent, it's worst month since January 2016, as well, and Italy was down 3.8 percent, its worst month since June 2016

European exchange February frost

Germany down 5.7 percent, worst since January 2016

Spain down 5.9 percent, worst since Jan. 2016

Italy: down 3.8 percent, worst since June 2016

Source: CNBC

Get the picture? The whole world was down 5 percent to 8 percent. Makes you glad to be back in the U.S., where we only dropped 3.9 percent.

So does this mean March will be a mess as well? Not necessarily. Our partners at the hedge fund analytics tool Kensho noted that in past Februarys when the S&P dropped more than 2 percent, the index was positive in March 67 percent of the time, with an average gain of 1.8 percent.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is minority investor in Kensho.

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