What a month August has been so far, with the S&P 500 Index up more than 7%, for the best August since 1984. Not to be outdone, this is the first time in history August saw two separate 6-day (or more) win streaks. Last, with one day to go, the S&P 500 has gained 16 days so far this month, for the most since 16 in April 2019. Meanwhile, it is the most up days for any August since 2003.
“Well, 2020 has laughed at many of these things, but be aware September is indeed the worst month of the year on average,” explained LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “But what caught our attention was both September and October have a negative return during election years, with October the worst month of the year. Could investors get election jitters again in 2020?”
As show in the LPL Chart of the Day, September tends to be a weak month. In fact, it is the weakest month on average since 1950. Additionally, the last two times August was up more than 5% were 1986 and 2000; the S&P 500 fell 8.5% and 5.4% in September those years.
Breaking things down by just an election year shows that August actually tends to be strong. That obviously played out this year, but now will the weakness we usually see in September and October play out?
Finally, after today, the S&P 500 will be up 5 consecutive months. Looking at the other years that saw a similar summer rallies, there tended to be more strength the final 4 months of the year, with only the Federal Reserve policy mistake of December 2018 blemishing this impressive track record.
Yes, this record equity run is extremely stretched, but we would continue to use any pullbacks as an opportunity to add to longer-term core equity holdings, as the economy continues to come back quicker than most expected.
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