Call it the end of summer doldrums. According to S&P Capital IQ, since 1980 August has been among the worst of all losing months - averaging a 4.38% decline. The firm’s chief equity strategist Sam Stovall blames the drop on vacationing traders. Their absence broadens the impact of any kind of market jarring events such as we saw last week.
Stocks so far seem to be holding on with their fingernails, but the only months that perform worse than August are... September and October. Stovall chalks it up to “third quarter earnings reporting season in September, mutual funds end up rebalancing their holdings, doing some window dressing, getting rid of some of the dogs.” He adds markets may bounce back come October.
Now throw in the fact that it’s been 34 months since the last correction (versus an average span between pullbacks of just 18 months.) Stovall says it maybe time to start resetting those dials, “we’ve gone almost three times as long as without a decline of ten percent or more as we have on average since World War 2. ”
One reason for the delay in the correction is the good run we’ve seen in earnings results. S&P predicted 6.6% earnings growth on average for the second quarter, and now they are seeing a 10.2% increase from a year earlier. Stovall notes the U.S. right now looks pretty good compared to the rest of the world.
“Growth is expected to be improving here in the U.S. whether you look at economic growth or earnings growth, it does appear to be a little more attractive and a little more stable,” he says.
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