S&P 500 fell 4.8% in September, worst month since March 2020

<p><p>Stocks on Wall Street fell broadly Thursday, closing out September with their worst monthly loss since the beginning of the pandemic.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 ended the month 4.8% lower, its first monthly drop since January and the biggest since March 2020, when the viral outbreak rattled markets as it wreaked havoc with the global economy.</p></p><p><p>After climbing steadily for much of the year, the stock market became unsettled in recent weeks with the spread of the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19, a sudden spike in long-term bond yields and word that the Federal Reserve may start to unwind its support for the economy.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 fell 1.2% Thursday, after selling accelerated in the final hour of trading. The benchmark index is still up 14.7% for the year.</p></p><p><p>“It’s not really surprising that we’re seeing a weaker September because historically its the worst month on average,” said Jay Pestrichelli, CEO, of investment firm ZEGA Financial. “Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information to glean for October from it.”</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 fell 51.92 points to 4,307.54, and is now 5.1% below its all-time high set on Sept. 2. The September swoon cut into the index’s gains for the third quarter, leaving it only 0.2% higher. That’s its smallest quarterly gain since the pandemic first stunned the economy and financial markets.</p></p><p><p>The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 546.80 points, or 1.6%, to 33,843.92, while the Nasdaq slid 63.86 points, or 0.4%, to 14,448.58. Small company stocks also lost ground. The Russell 2000 index fell 20.94 points, or 0.9%, to 2,204.37.</p></p><p><p>Bond yields edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans, fell to 1.50% from 1.54% from late Wednesday. It was as low as 1.32% just over a week ago.</p></p><p><p>All the sectors in the S&amp;P 500 ended in the red Thursday, with technology stocks, banks and a mix of companies that provide consumer goods and services accounting for much of the pullback. More than 90% of the stocks in the index fell.</p></p><p><p>The broader market stumbled through September as investors tried to get a clearer picture of the economy’s path amid inflation concerns and uncertainty about how COVID-19 will continue to impact industries and consumers. In recent weeks, economic data has revealed that the highly contagious delta variant has crimped consumer spending and the job market’s recovery.</p></p><p><p>The weak signals for economic growth continued Thursday as the Labor Department reported <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-technology-business-unemployment-united-states-18ecfd6670cd096f12c383a5ec0e66f7″>unemployment applications rose for the third straight week</a> and were higher than economists anticipated. The Commerce Department <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-economy-gross-domestic-product-0b61a82a13f105ba668a4537fb198514″>upgraded its estimate of economic growth</a> during the second quarter to 6.7%, which was slightly better than economists expected, but they expect growth to slow to 5.5% during the third quarter.</p></p>