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December has been best month for stocks over past 100 years

Earlier this year, I told you that September has historically been the worst month for stocks going back several years. September, of course, made a liar of both me and history, as the March rally continued through the first month of fall.

Given that, I still like to bring a little history to the markets, and as today is the first trading day of December, let's take a look back at Decembers over the past years.

According to data from Bespoke, December has been the best trading month -- meaning, it has produced the highest average returns -- over the past 100 years of the stock market.

Moving a little closer into the present, April has been the best trading month over the past 50 years and 20 years. Hence the old brokers' saw, "Sell in May and go away." That means you take your profits in May because a summer swoon -- heading into the traditionally bad month of September -- is on the way.

But this year has been unlike any other. Since the markets bottomed in early March, the rally has continued largely unabated, though, as I wrote two weeks ago, the rally appears to be flattening out.

Yesterday, the markets zigzagged all over the place before closing in the green.

The Dow, which crossed the zero line 35 times(!) during the day, closed up one-third of 1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 closed up nearly four-tenths of 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up three-tenths of 1 percent.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  December 1, 2009; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500, stocks  
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