October Positivity

November 17, 2022

Following on the heels of negative returns in both August and September, October turned into a positive month.  The S&P 500 Index returned just over 8%, on a total return basis, the Russell 2000 Index returned just over 11%, and the NASDAQ, being tech heavy returned just under 4%.  This might come as a surprise considering that most people who know a bit about market history know that October has been the month when the market crashes.  

For example October 29, 1929 which was known as “Black Tuesday” and is often maligned as the end of the “Roaring 20’s” and blamed for ushering in the “Great Depression” that followed. Or October 19, 1987, known as “Black Monday”, a day in which the S&P 500 Index dropped over 20% in a day.2 Writers or pundits who have a story to tell will often bring up these examples and parade them around to make the point that October is a scary month, and that it has nothing to do with Halloween.  However, as we have mentioned before, cognitive biases often lead to errors in judgement.3

If we turn to the actual data once again, using the last 20 years (2002-2021) as our data set, we see that at least in recent years, while October has had some bad years (-16.8% in 2008) on average it is actually a fairly good month, returning just under 1.5% on average over the last 20 years, with that said it does tend to be fairly volatile having the highest standard deviation of all monthly returns.  As always this is not a prediction of future October returns or to say there will never be a crash in October again.  There are many factors that go into the market direction and returns, but only to say that paying attention to historical patterns and returns is probably worth the effort.

Data Source: Bloomberg Terminal
Chart Source: Stadion

Finally, looking forward to November, and using the S&P 500 data once again we see that November is historically the second strongest month on average returning right around 2% (following April which is just over 2.5% on average).  But just to say it once again, and at the risk of overstating the point, this is not a prediction that November will be positive, only to point out that it has been on average over the last 20 years.  There are many factors that could lead to “this time being different”.  The ongoing war in Ukraine, rising domestic interest rates, problems in China from the zero Covid policy and lock-downs. 

At Stadion, we believe a personalized approach to retirement investing is important and can guide participants to better retirement outcomes.4 That’s why we offer a managed account service that is designed to help participants achieve their retirement goals. Our team of investment professionals monitor participant accounts and base investment decisions on a disciplined process, not emotions. Our personalized approach is designed to consider information about each participant – their feelings about risk, current age, expected retirement date and other personal factors – and support participants’ journey towards their retirement goals.

Rob Dailey
Portfolio Management Analyst




4Alight, “Managed accounts: A personalized employee benefit for retirement and financial wellbeing”, 2022.


The S&P 500 Index is the Standard & Poor’s Composite Index of 500 stocks and is a widely recognized, unmanaged index of common stock prices.

The NASDAQ Composite is a stock market index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and it is highly followed in the U.S. as an indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index, which represents approximately 8% of the total market capitalization of the Russell 3000 Index.

The Reports’ commentary, analysis, opinions, advice, and recommendations represent those of Stadion Money Management and are subject to change at any time without notice. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change to due changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass Stadion reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies based on changing market dynamics or client needs. This document may contain certain information that constitutes “forward-looking statements” which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “expect,” “will,” “hope,” “forecast,” “intend,” “target,” “believe,” and/or comparable terminology. No assurance, representation, or warranty is made by any person that any of Stadion’s assumptions, expectations, objectives, and/or goals will be achieved. There is no guarantee of the future performance of any Stadion portfolio. This material is for information use only and should not be considered financial advice. The data presented has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed. We make no warranties and bear no liability for your use of this information.

Diversification does not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment losses.

Stadion Money Management, LLC ("Stadion") is a registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.  Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Stadion, including fees, can be found in Stadion's ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

Stadion is not related to or affiliated with State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) nor are they a distributor of SPDR ETFs.

Standard & Poor’s®, S&P® and SPDR® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC(S&P); Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (Dow Jones); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC (SPDJI) and sublicensed for certain purposes by State Street Corporation. State Street Corporation’s financial products are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, their respective affiliates and third party licensors and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s) nor do they have any liability in relation thereto, including for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of any index.

The SPDR® S&P 500® ETF, SPDR® S&P MIDCAP 400® ETF, SPDR® Dow Jones® Industrial Average ETF are exchange traded funds with the investment objective to correspond to the price and yield performance of the S&P 500® Index, S&P® MidCap 400® IndexTM, and Dow Jones Industrial AverageSM. The shares of the SPDR® S&P 500® ETF, SPDR® S&P MIDCAP 400® ETF, SPDR® Dow Jones® Industrial Average ETF represent individual ownership interest in the Trust’s portfolio.

StoryLine is a marketing term associated with investment advisory services and products provided by Stadion Money Management, LLC. Certain of the StoryLine accounts and funds utilize exchange-traded funds,that bear the SPDR® trademark to implement Stadion’s investment strategy. Stadion receives both an annual payment and reimbursement for certain marketing and other assistance in connection with the StoryLine Accounts from State Street Global Advisors and its affiliates in connection with Stadion’s use of SPDR® ETFs in the StoryLine Accounts. StoryLine is not managed, sponsored or endorsed by State Street Global Advisors or its affiliates and is not guaranteed by Stadion or its affiliates or by State Street Global Advisors or its affiliates. No party makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, regarding the advisability of investing in the StoryLine Accounts, including “StoryLine. Built with SPDR® ETFs.” State Street Global Advisors has no obligations to take into consideration the StoryLine Accounts or investors in the StoryLine Account when managing or creating SPDR® ETFs.” Standard & Poor’s®, S&P®, S&P 500®, Standard & Poor’s 500, 500, Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipts, and SPDRs® are trademarks of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and have been licensed for use by State Street Global Markets, LLC.


Past Performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments are subject to risk, and any of Stadion's investment strategies may lose money.