Was it “September is a bad month for stocks”? Or, how about Irma bearing down on Florida? Perhaps it was the North Koreans becoming more nuclear capable. Maybe it was a lack of confidence that anything positive can come out of the fiscal side of the equation given the political inertia we continue to see. Maybe the bond market’s rally (rates dropping- the 10 year Treasury Note yielding 2.07%) is finally spooking economic data watchers. Maybe it was just the negatively inclined looking for a good reason to sell. Whatever the case may be, market participants were sellers of stocks today.
By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 234 points to finish the day at 21,753. The S&P 500 was down 18 points to close at 2,457. Gold was up $16 to trade at $1,347 per ounce, while oil was up $1.32 to trade at $48.61 per barrel WTI.
August is also known as a difficult month for stocks, indeed we are in the “difficult for stocks” season, but the bulls were able to weather that potential storm. Will September finally be the month that the bears get their claws into the situation? For years now, any pullback in stocks has been seen as a buying opportunity. Have the conditions really changed enough for that to finally not be true? The bears might point to all the items we listed above, not to mention a Fed that seems to want to normalize rates and reduce their balance sheet – both potential headwinds for stocks. Other than mother nature’s storms, none of this is really new, though. We’ll see if the bears can finally put some real pressure on the bulls. As we know, the bulls have been very resilient for years now. The bears will have their work cut out for them.
Stay Strong Houston