The S&P 500 index fell 0.7% last week, capping September trading with the market benchmark’s largest monthly loss since December 2022 and its first quarterly loss in a year amid rate policy worries.
This marks its fourth consecutive week in the red, putting its September return at a 4.9% loss, its second consecutive down month.
Friday also marked the end of Q3.
The S&P 500 ended the quarter with a 3.6% drop since the end of June, representing its first quarterly loss since Q3 of 2022. The index is still in positive territory this year, gaining 12% since the start of 2023.
The S&P 500 had climbed in the first half of the year on optimism that the Federal Open Market Committee would stop raising rates. While there have been pauses, investors are now bracing for another increase after the policy-setting committee lifted its median rate outlook last week for 2024 and 2025. Worries about this have fueled the index’s recent declines.
By sector, utilities had the largest percentage drop of the week, falling 7.0%, followed by a 2.1% slide in consumer staples and declines of 1.6% each in financials and real estate. However, two sectors managed to post weekly gains: Energy rose 1.3% and materials edged up 0.2%.
This week, Q4 will kick off with August construction spending data as well as readings from the Institute for Supply Management on September manufacturing and services. However, investors will be most focused on September employment data, with ADP’s report on private sector employment expected on Wednesday and the Labor Department’s closely watched September payrolls and unemployment rate due Friday.
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