The month of October has become legendary among those who follow the market closely, with a history of crashes that have come to be known as the “October Effect,” often raising fears that a downturn is on the horizon as fall weather rolls in .
“The October effect is basically this idea that the market routinely has a bad month in October,” EJ Antoni, research associate in regional economics at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told Fox News Digital.
But whether the evidence supports the idea that October should be the most feared month on the financial calendar is debatable. While the month saw iconic crashes like the Panic of 1907, Black Tuesday, Black Thursday and Black Monday in 1929, and Black Monday in 1987, overall data suggests October is a month like any other.
“If you actually go back and look at the data, you realize there really isn’t a lot of evidence” that October is a routinely bad month, Antoni said.
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According to LPL Financial’s Analysis of the Month, October has historically been the most volatile month for the markets of the year, with the most swings of more than 1% in either direction. But October also ended more bear markets than they began, while September spawned more down markets without earning a nickname.
The overall data suggests that while October was unlucky with its history of crashes, this may just be the result of bad luck for the month.
“It’s amazing how many terrible drops in the Dow happened in October,” Antoni said. “In my opinion, these things are more coincidence than anything else. If you look at the events that caused the severe currency contractions in previous panics, they had nothing to do with the calendar.”
Antoni pointed out that October’s bad reputation may even have predated the 1907 crash, pointing to the credit crunch of 19th-century agriculture. Back then, an economy centered on agriculture had predictable cycles, often coming to a head in October.
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“Farmers need credit all at once to buy seeds and fertilizer for their crops,” Antonio said, adding that the crops thereafter “all came to market at the same time.”
“Because the economy had these system-wide shocks … those shocks were actually spice and I think part of where the phycology of the October Effect came from,” he said.
But Antoni also believes that October 2022 could partially live up to its reputation.
“This year looks like it might actually live up to the reputation, whether the reputation is deserved or not,” Antoni said. “Whether we’re talking about the American economy or the global economy, there’s not much to suggest that growth is picking up.”
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While Antoni believes the US economy could grow slightly in the third quarter of this year, October could mark the start of a bad economic streak.
“I don’t see any growth on the horizon,” he said. “One of the main drivers behind our at least anemic economic growth is currently our exports. Well, our exports are going to go down pretty quickly because the dollar is getting so strong against other currencies. And if you have a strong dollar, it makes it more expensive for foreigners to buy our products, our exports, and that will reduce exports, which also reduces GDP [gross domestic product].”