2017 was an extraordinary year for the markets and 2018 has been off to a hot start as well. What makes the markets so unique lately is how little volatility there has been. It is an important reminder to not become complacent when the markets are doing this well. To show how unique the S&P 500 has been, consider these several facts that Aspiriant has pulled together.
Last year was the ninth in a row when the S&P 500 has finished with a gain, something that hasn’t happened since the late 1990s.
It was the first calendar year when stocks have gone up each month.
Going back even further, this January was the 15th consecutive month with positive returns, which also has never happened before.
We only experienced eight days when the market moved up or down 1% or more. This is highly unusual and by this measure, 2017 was the least volatile year since 1964.
The S&P 500’s average daily change on an absolute basis was just 0.3%. This is the smallest number in more than 50 years.
The biggest decline last year was a drop of 2.8% in March/April. Again, this is not normal as it is far below the historical average for the S&P 500, which typically experiences a drop of about 14% at some point each year.