- U.S. stocks rose for the sixth straight month in September, ending near all-time highs and helping the benchmark index post the biggest quarterly gain (7.2%) in five years. Strong earnings growth and a range of positive economic data in the U.S. helped investors tune out political risk. This fueled the outperformance of domestic stocks over global markets in recent months.
- The S&P 500 finished 0.44% higher for September. The Dow Jones 30 rose 2.45% while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7%, having already climbed over 17% year-to-date.
- Stock market buybacks and dividends have posted record numbers so far this year. S&P 500 Index companies spent a record $191 billion on buybacks in Q2 18, up 58% year-over-year. Dividends also increased, but not to the same extent. Total buybacks and dividends for the year ending June 2018 jumped 19.1% to a record $1 trillion, with nearly three-quarters of the increase from buybacks — a significant tailwind for EPS and stock prices in 2018.
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