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March of History

James McGlynn

MANY COMMENTATORS worry about the stock market in October, a month associated with the crashes of 1929 and 1987. But I now pay more attention to March—especially March 10.

As an observer of the stock market since 1980, I stumbled upon an odd coincidence. Major financial events this century, like stock market peaks and troughs, have centered on the month of March. Here are four examples:

March 10, 2000: The Nasdaq peaked at 5048. Between 1995 and that peak, the Nasdaq rose 400%. The dot-com bubble then burst and the Nasdaq didn’t return to its 2000 peak until 2015.

March 9, 2009: The market bottomed after 2008’s Great Financial Crisis. From October 2007 to March 2009, the S&P 500 declined 57%.

March 23, 2020: The stock market bottomed amid the pandemic panic selling. Fiscal and monetary stimulus went into overdrive, triggering a huge market rally.

March 10, 2023: Silicon Valley Bank became the second biggest U.S. bank failure ever.

What is it about March and the financial markets? I was hoping for help from ChatGPT, but I couldn’t figure out how to ask it the question. Any thoughts, fellow humans?

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Kevin Thompson
Kevin Thompson
2 months ago

Not to mention the historic volatility within the bond market this March. The front end of treasury curve has been a great hiding spot for investors, however, futures in that market sold off quite a bit signaling rate cuts in the future. Will be interesting to see Jerome’s reaction to future CPI prints and how the Fed will land this plane. Looking like more Con-Air at this time.

The reality, to long term investors it’s all noise and needs to be ignored. Retirees have been provided a nice net in regards to fixed income being that fixed income “may” outperform over next several years. Inflation remains the key inhibitor to successful plans. A 25 to 50bps increase with inflation can be the difference between having money and moving in with your children. Stress test your plans with higher than average inflation.

Last edited 2 months ago by Kevin Thompson
Ben Rodriguez
Ben Rodriguez
2 months ago

I believe there’s a famous saying about stock investing (cannot recall the source): October is a perilous month to invest in stocks. The others are July, January, March, May, February, September, December, April, November, June and August.

Mike Gaynes
Mike Gaynes
2 months ago

Is this an Ides Idea?

OldITGuy
OldITGuy
2 months ago

I asked ChatGPT (Bing) and basically was told it’s probably coincidence. Meanwhile BARD (Google) basically told me there’s a lot of activity in the 1st quarter after year end loss taking which leads to volatility in the stock market. Then BARD gives some advice as follows: “Overall, there have been a number of factors that have contributed to the recent volatility in the financial markets. It is important to remember that volatility is a normal part of investing, and that it is important to have a long-term investment horizon.”. Maybe BARD needs to contribute to Humble Dollar 🙂

James McGlynn CFA RICP®
James McGlynn CFA RICP®
2 months ago
Reply to  OldITGuy

Bing did remind me that March 10 2020 the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

Olin
Olin
2 months ago

Interesting observation about March and the financial markets. I don’t have Alexa, so I asked Siri for answers. It just gave me more research to do.

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