Will September Once Again Disappoint?

Every year I say September hits like a thunderous jolt on many levels. It is back to school for many and the return to work for most of us as we race toward the end of the year. That means revisiting prior plans and using the sailing term tacking back on course to make sure we land where we want to be. That’s true in business and with investing.

Looking at the year-to-date returns for the S&P 500 and other major market indices, 2013 has been a banner year. The S&P 500 alone is up more than 18% as I write to you even though it has pulled back some from its Aug. 2 peak. So far in September, that index is up more than 3% as the market climbed higher for seven of the last eight consecutive days. As any student of investing and the stock markets knows, September tends to be one of the worst-performing months during the year. Looking at the data, over the 2000-2012 period, the S&P 500 has averaged a return of -1.4% for the month of September.

You’re probably thinking to yourself — the market’s up this September and it’s bucking the historical average… are we due for a reversal?

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