Taking things a step further, this year the S&P 500 produced one of its best ever year-to-date gains through September, up 14.7% with a quarter to go. It turns out that good starts to a year tend to resolve higher. In fact, 9 of the past 10 years the S&P 500 was up at least 12.5% with a quarter to go there were further gains in the fourth quarter. As you can see below, the returns are greatly skewed due to 1987, but the median return in the final quarter of the year is an impressive 5.2% (versus the average fourth quarter return of 4.0%).
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