You would think that with all the headlines over the past month suggesting political chaos in Washington, it would have been a volatile January for stocks. With the first month of the year now in the books, though, it was among the most stable Januarys in terms of market performance we have seen in quite some time. For starters, the largest drawdown that the S&P 500 saw from a closing high during the month was just 0.85%, which is the smallest since last July.
Even more impressive, though, was the S&P 500’s average daily percent change in January of just +/-0.33%. In the 1,069 months since 1928, January ranks as the 66th smallest average daily move for a given month in the S&P 500’s history. For the month of January specifically, there have only been five other Januarys where the S&P 500 saw an average daily percentage move that was smaller than this January. In the table below, we have highlighted each of those Januarys along with how the S&P 500 traded for the remainder of the year. As far as the month of February is concerned, quiet Januarys haven’t had any notable impact on market returns in February as the S&P 500 has been up three out of five times for a median gain of 0.99%. For the remainder of the year, the S&P 500 has been up a median of 6.31% with positive returns four out of five times, but here again, these results don’t show any meaningful variance from overall historical returns for all other years.