How Rare Was December's Stock Market Loss?
What history suggests about last month's decline.
December brought an unfamiliar emotion: investment dismay. For the first time in a long while, stock market problems made the headlines. Few U.S. adults entered the New Year without realizing that equities were slumping. Most, however, shared my position: I knew that stocks were down, but not by how much, nor how the month rated among stock market history.
So, here we are. The S&P 500, it turns out, had a total return of negative 9.03% in December 2018. That places the month as the 11th worst over the past half century, from 1969 through 2018. Which sounds a bit worse than the reality.