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The Best and Worst Quarters in Stock Market History

By Ben Carlson, CFA
A Wealth of Common Sense

The first quarter of 2020 saw the S&P 500® Index fall 19.6%. The second quarter of 2020 saw the S&P 500 rise 20.5%.

Add this up, and on a total return basis, the U.S. stock market was down just 2.7% through the first half of the year. With everything that’s going on in the world this year, being down less than 3% feels miraculous.

The first quarter of the year was so bad and the second quarter of the year was so good that both fall into the top 10 for the best/worst quarters ever since 1926.

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