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S&P 500 works toward 23rd day of 1% (or more) falls

As of midday Monday, the S&P 500 was down about 1.6% from Friday’s close. Should the index remain below 1% through close, it will be the 23rd day in 2018 that it has fallen at least 1% in one trading session, already more days than 2014 and 2016, when the index closed the year up 11.4% and 9.5%, respectively. Extreme daily declines have been more prevalent in 2018 compared to recent years, with 10 days of declines of more than 2%, four with 3% or more and one day, Feb. 5, when the index fell more than 4%. Year to date, the index was up 0.6% through midday Monday.

A slew of issues has brought volatility back to the market in 2018. Politics threatening to limit global trade has caused concerns around global growth prospects, while waning demand and security issues have harmed the influential tech sector.

With declines more frequent and more severe in 2018, there have also been a number of days when the market has made up for losses. The index has risen at least 1% in a day 28 times this year, two more than 2016, but still less than 2015, a year the index finished down 73 basis points. On a total return basis, the S&P 500 was up 1.4% that year. For further comparison, in 2017, when the index gained 19.4% (21.8% total return), there were only four daily of declines of 1% or less, and just as many in the other direction.