Money

Surviving the September Scuttlebutt

Last week marked the final days of “summer,” at least in market terms. As expected, there wasn’t much market participation. Now, however, we’ve entered September, historically the worst month of the year for the stock market.

This year, the September scuttlebutt is swirling with rumors, hints and speculation about all sorts of unknowns. Some of these unknowns, by themselves, probably aren’t too big a deal. Others could turn out to be a very big deal. Collectively, the fear factor over a potential confluence of unknowns is what investors are rightly worried about.

The most immediate of these worries is the threat of enhanced conflict in Syria, something that’s already put pressure on stocks, and that’s caused oil prices to rise. For the month of August, the Dow was down a very sharp 4.6%, its worst one-month performance since May 2012. Part of the reason for that sell-off was the Syria factor last week.

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