Two weeks ago marked the 6-month anniversary of the March 23rd market lows. In March, many thought the world was ending and there was no way to keep the economy and the stock market intact, but a lot has happened since.

Due to the recent pullback this six-month stretch is no longer the strongest start to a bull market but the run has been impressive, nonetheless. The pullback may have to do with the recent cases of COVID, or political uncertainty heading into the election. Although, September is historically the worst performing month regardless of elections, recessions or pandemics.

bull market

The average September for the S&P500 since 1950 is down the last 11 days on average compared to the start.

sept start

While some indexes like the S&P500 and the NASDAQ are recovering since the lows many are still off of their highs and also still lower on the year as shown below. The MSCI EAFE and the Russell 2000 index have struggled the most.

y chart 1

y chart 2

How the market is doing at any single time is a loaded question therefore framing and context are important when looking at investment returns. NASDAQ was recently up as much as 25% for the year with the S&P500 also up past 2%.  If we looked at the market four weeks ago, the number would have been NASDAQ up 43% and SP 500 up 12% on the year. On March 23rd NASDAQ was down -20% and S&P 500 close to -30%. However, if history plays a part, we can say that markets are up over 70% of the time and up over 10 year rolling periods most of the time.

It is important to maintain a disciplined approach when looking at the market and stay invested. Do not try to time the market in order to get in and out at the right times. It is impossible to do this well over the long run and missing out on just a few of the best days can derail investment returns. There will always be noise from media or from neighbors and friends about what will be happening with the market especially in the midst of social unrest, pandemic, and an election. However, we plan for these down turns and unfavorable sequence of returns in our financial plans, therefore we should not change the investment philosophy or make significant portfolio changes unless there have been financial goal changes or major change in personal life events. At Wiser Wealth Management we seek to manage emotions and behaviors. We are focused on portfolios of healthy long-term assets classes through low cost ETTs that are rebalanced periodically based on risk tolerance bands.

Matthews Barnett, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®   Financial Planning Specialist