The S&P 500 is on pace for its third monthly decline in a row, but by all accounts it has been one of the tamest three-month losing streaks in history. Barring a huge decline this afternoon (on the order of 1.5%), the last three months will go down as at least the fourth smallest percentage decline during a three-month losing streak on record. Furthermore, if the S&P 500 closes above 2,130.13, it will be only the fourth time that the S&P 500 was down for three straight months and declined less than 2%. In the table to the right and the charts below, we highlight each of the three prior periods where the S&P 500 declined less over a three-month span.
Following two of the prior three periods, the S&P 500 was up over the following one and three months, but in August 1981, the index declined 6.21% on its way to a three-month decline of nearly 7%. Looking at the charts below, one key difference between the 1981 period and the other three periods is that in 1981, the S&P 500 was already trending lower heading into its streak, while in the other two periods (and the current streak), the S&P 500 was trending higher.