October’s Historic Volatility on Display With Stocks Whipsawed
(Bloomberg) -- With September living up to its reputation as the worst month for stocks, investors entered October hoping for a rebound. Instead, they’re getting a reminder of just how volatile the tenth month of the year can also be.
October is up 59% of the time, on average, with returns of around 0.44%, according to Bank of America Corp. But when September is down, the following month can see equities struggling again. In such case, October shows an average decline of 0.41%.
“Unfortunately, for those looking for upside mean reversion, a down September is a risk for October,” wrote Stephen Suttmeier, technical research strategist at Bank of America Securities. Though September tends to be a seasonally choppy period, “October can have bigger drawdowns based on the seasonality of intra-month moves.”
September, which saw the S&P 500 lose 4.8%, was the gauge’s worst month since March of last year. Investors have a lot to fret over. Stocks are starting the fourth quarter buffeted by political wrangling over the debt ceiling, an energy crisis and the potential start of the Federal Reserve pulling back on pandemic bond-buying.
The index declined for the fourth time in six sessions -- and the losses are getting more pronounced. The S&P has posted losses of more than 1% on all three of its most recent down days. That hasn’t happened since September 2020, when the index tumbled near 10%, according to data from Ally Invest.
“Investors are processing a slew of tricky headlines, like the debt ceiling negotiations and a spike in oil prices” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally. “Add all that up, and it’s causing some market angst against the backdrop of a Federal Reserve planning to remove market support by the end of the year.”
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