April was a strong month for U.S. equity markets, with the three major indices setting all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.78 percent, and the S&P 500 saw a 5.34 percent increase. The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a strong 5.43 percent gain. Markets were supported by public health improvements and the most recent round of federal stimulus.
U.S. stock markets saw gains for the month and quarter, but not all stocks did well. Higher interest rates led to some volatility, especially for growth and technology companies. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.48 percent during March, with the heavy technology weighting dragging down the index’s performance. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) saw stronger results, up by 4.38 percent and 6.78 percent, respectively. On a quarterly basis, the Nasdaq Composite gained 2.95 percent, and the S&P 500 managed a 6.18 percent gain. The DJIA led the way with an 8.29 percent return.
After a weak January, equity markets rebounded in February, despite some late-month volatility driven by a spike in U.S. interest rates. The S&P 500 gained 2.76 percent in February, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 3.43 percent. The heavily technology-weighted Nasdaq Composite gained 1.01 percent.
Markets took a bit of a break to start the year, as volatility at month-end, driven by fears of a more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus, pulled back earlier gains. The S&P 500 ended the month down 1.01 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.95 percent. The Nasdaq Composite did better, finishing the month with a 1.44 percent gain, but even this technology-heavy index was hit by late-month volatility.
Markets continued to rally in the final month of 2020. The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 5.71 percent gain for the month. The S&P 500 gained 3.84 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose by 3.41 percent. These results contributed to a strong quarter for markets.
November was a strong month for markets, as news about developmental vaccines for the coronavirus caused markets to surge. The S&P 500 gained 10.95 percent in November, and the Nasdaq Composite rose by 11.91 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way with a 12.14 percent gain. These strong results brought the three indices to all-time highs.
October was a challenging month for markets. The strong start to the month was offset by rising COVID-19 case counts, which led to a sell-off at month-end. The S&P 500 lost 2.66 percent in October, while the Nasdaq Composite declined by 2.26 percent. The Dow Jones Industrials Average (DJIA) suffered the largest decline, losing 4.52 percent.
Markets dropped early in September before partially recovering throughout the rest of the month. The S&P 500 fell by 3.80 percent during the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 2.18 percent and the Nasdaq Composite declined by 5.10 percent. Despite a disappointing September, all three indices ended the quarter in positive territory. The S&P 500 gained 8.93 percent in the third quarter, and the DJIA managed an 8.22 percent gain. The Nasdaq, with its large weighting toward technology, led the way with an 11.24 percent increase.
August was another strong month for financial markets. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both set all-time highs, gaining 7.19 percent and 9.70 percent, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which has been slower to recover from pandemic-induced volatility earlier in the year, gained a strong 7.92 percent. This brought the index into positive territory year-to-date.
July marked a strong start to the second half of the year for markets, as all three major U.S. equity indices ended the month in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 2.51 percent for the month, and the S&P 500 impressed with a 5.64 percent return. The Nasdaq Composite, with its heavy weighting to technology, was the leader, rising by 6.85 percent.
June was another positive month for markets, despite concerns about the spread of the coronavirus causing some volatility near month-end. All three major indices posted positive returns for the month. The S&P 500 returned 1.99 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 1.82 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose by 6.07 percent. On a quarterly basis, all three indices showed strong rebounds following March’s volatility. The Nasdaq led the way with a quarterly gain of 30.95 percent, while the DJIA gained 18.51 percent and the S&P increased by 20.54 percent.
May saw equity markets around the world rise for the second month in a row, as efforts to reopen economies began taking hold. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose by 4.66 percent, and the S&P 500 gained 4.76 percent. The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 6.89 percent gain.
Equity markets saw a swift recovery in April, as progress toward slowing the spread of the coronavirus gave hope to investors. The S&P 500 rose by 12.82 percent, marking the best monthly gain since 1987. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 11.22 percent for the month, while the Nasdaq Composite, with its heavy technology weighting, led the way with a 15.49 percent gain.
March was another terrible month for stocks, capping off a turbulent quarter. The continued spread of the novel coronavirus led to even more fear and uncertainty in global markets. The S&P 500 declined by 12.35 percent for the month and 19.60 percent for the quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) did even worse, dropping by 13.62 percent for the month and 22.73 percent for the quarter. The Nasdaq Composite performed the best, but it still lost 10.03 percent in March, contributing to a 13.95 percent decline for the quarter.
February was a tough month for markets, ending in a terrible final week—the worst week for U.S. equity market returns since 2008. Investors were spooked by news about the spread of the coronavirus and fled to safe-haven assets. The S&P 500 fell by 8.23 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped by 9.75 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 6.27 percent.
January was a mixed month for markets, with concerns about the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus having a negative effect at month-end. Despite spending most of the month in positive territory, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined. The former fell 0.04 percent while the latter dropped 0.89 percent. The Nasdaq Composite also saw some late-month volatility, but previous gains were strong enough to leave the index up 2.03 percent for the month.
What a difference a year can make. At the end of 2018, markets were selling off due to political concerns, and the year finished on a sour note. But 2019 had a significantly better ending for investors. Markets experienced solid gains in December, capping off an impressive quarter and year. All three major U.S. indices were up for the month; the S&P 500 returned 3.02 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 1.87 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 3.63 percent. This positive performance led to a quarterly gain of 9.07 percent for the S&P 500, 6.67 percent for the DJIA, and 12.47 percent for the Nasdaq. The annual figures are even more impressive, with the S&P returning 31.49 percent, while the DJIA and Nasdaq grew by 25.34 percent and 36.69 percent, respectively.