Major Indices Set for Worst January in History

As we go into the last trading day of the month, the Nasdaq and S&P are already having their worst January in history. The Dow is not far behind and is currently having its worst January since 1978. With the futures pointing lower we could hit records across the board. As of yesterday's close here is where the major indices stack up:

  • Dow down 6.2% so far - record loss of 8.6% set in 1916
  • S&P down 7.7% so far - record loss of 7.6% set in 1970
  • Nasdaq down 11.4% so far - record loss of 8.6% set in 1990

With the markets down, many investors are flocking to gold. Gold is up about 10% this month, far from its record January gains set in 1980 when gold gained 26% of that year. Today's WSJ points out that on an inflation adjusted basis gold hit $2,228.60 in January 1980, well above today's prices of ~$920.

Prepare for the worst -- with advice from the best:



The Dow has been down 5% or more in only 11 Januarys. When this happened, its average performance for the following Februarys and for the rest of the year was 0.07% and -0.05% respectively.

Meanwhile, in the video clip to the left, CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera investigates whether popular culture is indicating that the market has bottomed out.