Coming off its early September all-time high by around 6%, the S&P 500’s winning streak of five monthly gains came to an end. Yet the U.S. equity benchmark index closed out the third quarter on a positive note, ending just above its 50-day moving average amid a flurry of encouraging month-end data showing the economy is still on the road to recovery. Third-quarter GDP estimates are on track for record growth, currently topping a 32% annualized rate. Investors’ resolve however continues to be tested by implications from a resurgence in COVID-19 case rates and growing uncertainty over possible contested election results in November. Global active infections now top 33.7 million, with associated deaths of one million.
Wall Street is also closely monitoring progress toward viable coronavirus vaccines and talks in Washington for a new stimulus package. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and House Speaker Pelosi met on September 30 for their first in-person negotiations on a fresh fiscal stimulus package since August. Both sides remain committed to passing a compromised deal. The S&P 500 posted a near-9% gain in the third quarter, extending a rally the previous three months to cap its best two-quarter performance since 2009, up 31.3%. The Nasdaq Composite surged over 45% over the past six months, its strongest two-quarter gain since 2000.
- For September, the Dow Industrials lost 2.2% and the Nasdaq Composite gave back 5.1%, their first respective monthly losses since March.
- On a quarterly basis, the Dow Industrials gained 1,968 points (+8.2%) and the Nasdaq Composite surged 11.2%.
- U.S. crude oil futures retreated 6% last month, finishing at $40.22/barrel yet in relief, pared deeper losses after oil inventories fell to the lowest since April.
- Gold finished the month at $1,896/oz, down 4.2%, while climbing 5.9% in the 3Q, its eighth straight quarterly gain—the longest rally since 3Q 2011.
The Quarterly Recap is published by Cetera Investment Management LLC, an SEC registered adviser owned by Cetera Financial Group. Cetera Investment Management provides market perspectives, portfolio guidance, model management, and other investment advice to its affiliated broker-dealers, dually registered broker-dealers and registered investment advisers.