Blogs & Comment

How Scary is October?

We often hear references to October being a bad time to invest. After all, the crashes of 1929 and 1987 were in October. In order to check this out we pulled Bloomberg data for the performance of the DOW during each month going back to 1925. When we took the average percentage gains or losses over 85 years, October’s average was 0%, putting itfourth behind September (-1.3%), February (-0.1%)and May (0.0%) as the poorest performers. September only posted gains in 34 of the 85 years. The five ever worst times to lose money were September 1931 (-31%), March 1938 (-24%), April 1932 (-23%), October 1987 (-23%) and May 1940 (-22%)
When were the good times? Well July with an average gain of 1.6% was on top, however, December with a slightly lower gain of 1.5% had positive performances in 62 years compared with 54 years for July. The five best ever months for making money in the market were all in the 1930s. April 1933 saw a 41% gain . Number five was June 1931 with an increase of 17%. The best performance in this century was October 2002 with an 11% rise.
If you are interested in more information, email me at I’ll send you spreadsheets with a summary of each each month’s averages and largest gains and losses in points and percentages.