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The Angriest Month for Investors

Posted on October 15, 2014
NYSE127.jpg

"NYSE127" by Ryan Lawler - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.



October is misnamed.    And maybe that makes it an angry month.

It’s the 10th month, but October, in Latin, means the 8th month.

The Romans had initially slated October to land somewhere closer to the August time slot, but then Pope Gregory got involved and all Hell broke loose.

October is not a great month for the equity traders.

On October 28th and 29th,  the stock market crashed by close to 70 points in 1929.    Since the whole valuation of the market was only in the mid-200s, that took out a pretty huge chunk of the value, and as a result, the Great Depression sucked the soul out of the American economy for another decade.

Black Monday came on October 19, 1987.    Experts blamed program trading, the thought that computers had taken over the controls and crashed the whole economy over the guard rail.

On October 13, 1989, Friday the 13th, the junk market collapsed after a deal for a leveraged buyout of United Airlines fell through.  The market fell more than 6 percent.

On October 27, 1997, the market crashed again, falling 550 points.  This time, the virus that helped bring the NYSE to its knees started in Asia.

On October 7, 2002, the stock market reached its nadir, hitting lows not previously reached for more than a decade, a lingering hangover from the 9/11 attacks from the year before.

From October 6 through October 11 of 2007, the Dow lost close to 18 percent of its value.  It was a relentless pounding of just bad news.

From October 1st through October 10 of 2008, the Dow would lose more than 22 percent of its value.

And now, we have more stock turmoil, spurred on by Ebola, ISIS and global economic uncertainty.

October is not a very good month to look at your stock portfolios.  November might not be a very bad time to buy.

We haven’t had a good crash in 6 years or so.  It is interesting to note that from 1929 until 1987, we didn’t have any October crashes, but these days, the next one seems to be around the corner.

That’s probably because the growth in that period was actually pretty slow and steady, where these days, it seems to be at times both brisker and riskier.

I don’t pretend to understand market psychology, but my reading of history seems to indicate that October can be the cruelest month, especially for investors.