Here's what history says about stock market performance in December – MarketWatch

U.S. stocks are wrapping up a good November that saw equities to bounce off their 2022 lows set in October, with optimism building that the momentum will cement a year-end rally.
Indeed, there’s been a lot of talk about seasonal tailwinds and how they might — or might not — work to the advantage of stock-market bulls next month. While historical data is only a rough guide, December’s track record is an impressive one when it comes to the “winning percentage” for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.96%, the S&P 500 SPX, -1.12% and the small-cap Russell 2000 RUT, -0.90%. The Nasdaq Composite’s COMP, -1.14% December performance isn’t too shabby either, as the chart below from Dow Jones Market Data illustrates.
Of course, averages and other historical data are a rough guide at best. Some investors, no doubt, have bad memories of the market’s 9.2% December 2018 plunge.
With that caveat in mind, here’s a broader breakdown on how major indexes tend to perform in the final month of the year.
The chart below illustrates how December returns stack up historically:
The Dow was on track for a 5.2% monthly rise in November, with the S&P 500 up 4.9% and the Nasdaq Composite gaining 3.8%.
From a macro perspective, 2022 didn't offer investors much to clink champagne glasses over.

William Watts is MarketWatch markets editor. In addition to managing markets coverage, he writes about stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities, including oil. He also writes about global macro issues and trading strategies. During his time at MarketWatch, Watts has served in key roles in the Frankfurt, London, New York and Washington, D.C., newsrooms.
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