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Bits and pieces about the S&P 500 and Merrill Lynch

By Dian Vujovich

August has a history of not being very exciting on Wall Street. This year, however, could be the exception.


On Friday, the S&P 500 closed at 1655.83 — down a tad from the day before and off 60 points from its all time high close of this year of 1710. It was reached on August 2.


It has been 26 years (1987) since that index hit its calendar year high during the month of August, according to BTN Research and Princor.


If you’re wondering what the likelihood of that high being the one takes the year, don’t bet too much on it. That same source reports In 13 of the last 22 years—or 59 percent of the time— December has been the month when this index really showed its stuff.


Not surprising to schools-out vacationers, the three months of summer, June-July-August, have for decades been lousy performance months for that index.


That said, with the economic world in knots and discontent here at home, who knows what the S&Ps performance will be like for the last two weeks of this month. Or, through the rest of 2013, for that matter.


If history is any indication, the S&Ps bull market is now in its 54th month. BTN Research reports that since March 9, 2009, that index has had a total return of +175 percent as of the close of business on Friday, August 9, 2013.


What’s interesting about that time frame is that since 1950 the average length of time for an S&P bull market run is 57 months.


On another subject, there’s a chance that the legal entity of Merrill Lynch could be going the way of yesterday. But not to worry, if that happens, the brand name will still be around.


In case you have forgotten, Bank of America Corp. bought Merrill about four years ago and since then Merrill  has been doing business under its broker-deal, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc.


It’s that parent company, MLPFS, that might be merged into Bank America.


We’ll see.

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