Breakout

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Welcome to September; What’s Not to Hate?

Breakout

The Stock Trader's Almanac shows the past 60 years have earned September the dubious honor of being the worst month of the year with an average decline of 0.5% for the S&P 500. Part of that weakness has to do with the fact the Augusts are typically slow with low volume, and that, by comparison, September is a month of reckoning and preparation for the onslaught of earnings that will come in October.

Of course the first hurdle of the month will be Friday morning when the August payroll data is released. Expectations are for a slight uptick from July's 162,000 headline result with no change to the unemployment rate from the prior reading of 7.4%

Depending on who you ask, a good jobs number could either be good or bad news for the markets which will likely interpret the data for its impact on the Fed rather than as an indication of economic virility.

"Really understanding the jobs picture and what that shows for the economy, if it is expanding and at what pace it is expanding, is going to guide a lot of the FOMC action," says Andy Cross, the chief investment officer at The Motley Fool.

Of course the Fed's meeting doesn't occur until the 17th and 18th, but Cross and many others like him are planning on a tough few weeks.

"It's just one big event after another," he says, adding that he expects to see some volatile action this month. "We have a lot of issues that are going to hit the macro economy and I think investors have to invest through that," he says.

His advice is to focus on the longer term and ''invest through" periods of drama like the one we are about to encounter. "I want to be long those companies you believe in for the next three to five years. If not, you're going to get spooked out of the market and that's bad."

As for the Fed itself, and the pressing question whether or not they will begin winding down their bond buying plan, Cross says investors need to have a little faith.

"Call me crazy, but I think this Fed, and the chairman, and whoever replaces him actually gets this right," he says. "They don't want to upset the apple cart."

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Congress where storm clouds appear to growing by the day as another debt-ceiling/government shut-down fight looks almost unavoidable at this point.

The silver lining in the face of such obvious gloom is that we not only know it already, but have acted upon it in advance both in terms of higher interest rates and reduced exposure to risky stocks and markets.

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