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Market Attributes: U.S. Equity Indices Get Howard Silverblatt's take on the latest monthly performance of the U.S. equity market.
BY Howard Silverblatt

• The S&P 500® was up 0.43% in September, bringing the YTD return to 8.99%.

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average® gained 1.90% for the month and was up 7.04% YTD.

• The S&P MidCap 400® was down 1.23% for the month and up 6.26% YTD.

• The S&P SmallCap 600® was down 3.32% in September and up 13.42% YTD.


Wouldn’t trade this quarter for a fistful of Bitcoins (maybe if it were back to the USD 19,871 level it was at in December 2017, but not at the current USD 6,661), as the S&P 500 posted a broad gain, increasing in 10 of the 13 weeks for Q3 2018. Additionally, it posted an unusual gain for September (historically the month is down 54.4% of the time, with an average decline of 1.00%), be it just 0.43% (0.57% with dividends)—but it was positive.

While the index closed on one of those three weeks of declines (off 0.54%), no one appeared concerned (absent short sellers, since they were in the red instead of their shorted issues), as the tone on the Street was positive, with the full Q3 2018 period being up 7.20% (7.71% with dividends), its best quarterly gain since the 11.35% return of Q4 2013 and the best Q3 gain since the 10.72% posted in 2010. Moving away from the tick-by-tick and day-by-day trades, the quarter was a success, as the S&P 500 broke out of its trading range (and above 2,900), setting new intraday (2,940.91) and closing (2,930.75) highs, with 5 new closing highs for the quarter (1 in September and 4 in August), and 19 YTD (with 14 of the 19 in January) on strong breadth (348 up and 157 down). The recent gains confirmed the index’s latest breakout of its six-month trading range, which produced the new highs. The dear old Dow, which has lagged the S&P 500 since both of their highs on Jan. 26, 2018, posted its 12th and 13th new highs of the year, and its 100th and 101th since the election.

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