UNITED STATES—As hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine continue to push equities to new heights, Wall Street recorded its strongest return in August in decades. The S&P recorded its best August return since 1986, the Dow recorded its best return since 1984, and the Nasdaq had its best return since 2000.
According to Dow Jones Market Data, the S&P added its best 5-month return since October 1938, the Dow advanced its greatest 5 months since July 2009, and the Nasdaq experienced its strongest 5 months since March 2000. The turnaround is being attribute to news of a possible vaccination for COVID-19.
MarketWatch noted on Monday, August 31 how the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq “continued to notch records as risk assets shrug off the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus.”
According to MarketWatch reporters Mark DeCambre and Joy Wiltermuth, the nationwide market optimism forgoes the “seasonally weak month for stocks” for September.
Economists fear concerns about COVID-19’s re-emergence in the fall and winter, Congress’s economic stalemate over an additional pandemic relief package, and the upcoming US Presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump may amplify September’s historically weak stock market turnout.
The Senior Investment Strategist at Allianz Investment Management, Charlie Ripley wrote on August 31, “As some of the fiscal measures put in place begin to wear off, the need for additional fiscal stimulus only increases […] At the end of the day, the speed of the recovery rests in the hands of politicians as they wrangle over the details in the next round of fiscal stimulus spending.”
On August 30, the Federal Reserve announced a new monetary-policy strategy of using an average inflation target. Under this new policy, the Federal Reserve can lower interest rates over a longer period, despite fluctuations in the unemployment rate and inflation.