With many people on holiday, thinly traded markets often lead to August being seen a difficult month for stocks worldwide. In fact, on average, August has been the measliest month for returns for the MSCI All Countries World Index, losing an average of 1.09% each year since 1994. With form like that, it was therefore unsurprising that many of the major stocks markets were down over the month this year.
The S&P 500 was the exception, however, as it continued to march on through August leaving other major markets in its wake. In fact, on 24 August, it passed through its previous high from January and continued to break out above 2,900. In a world where trade relations are souring and emerging market concerns are on the rise, it seems strange for the index to be generating new highs. However strong earnings, share buybacks and a vibrant tech sector continue to fuel the index. Looking at some measures, the S&P’s run since the start of the Financial Crisis nearly ten years ago will rank as the longest bull market of all time. Some sceptical investors though are quick to point out the nasty downturns in 2010, 2011 and 2016 should have seen the clocks being reset. Whatever the view, the S&P’s current form is impressive nonetheless.