What’s in store for the S&P 500 in September?
If seasonality is of any guide, we are potentially heading into a period of increased volatility. With key economic data in focus ahead, how will the S&P 500 play out this month?
What to expect this coming September?
If seasonality is of any guide, we are potentially heading into a period of increased volatility, which traditionally saw a move higher in the VIX before tapering off towards the end of the year. The average ten-year historical performance of the S&P 500 generally saw May (+0.23%) and September (-0.35%) being the weaker months compared to the rest of the year. After a period of consolidation in mid-August this year, the VIX has bounced off its closely-watched 20 level, rejecting the notion of a perceived low-risk environment (VIX < 20). This suggests ongoing market stress, in light of heightened uncertainty and fear. With the recent sell-off, current market sentiments seem to trade more on the neutral level, with a clear moderation from previous overbought technical and market breadth conditions.
Key economic data in September
With the Federal Reserve (Fed) removing its forward guidance and taking on a data-dependent stance, more focus will be placed on the upcoming economic data to drive market expectations of upcoming policy moves. Several potential high-impact economic data in September to watch may include:
- 1 September 2022, Thursday: ISM manufacturing PMI
- 6 September 2022, Tuesday: ISM non-manufacturing PMI
Prices paid by firms are expected to display a slower increase compared to the previous month, in order to support the peak-inflation narrative. With the prices-paid sub-index trending below expectations for four consecutive months since April this year, markets could be accustomed to seeing further moderation in pricing pressures. With that, any upside surprise could point to Fed’s tightening process being higher-for-longer. Further constraints on economic conditions such as new orders and production could be reflected as well, but the primary priority for the Fed seems more concentrated on taming inflation compared to supporting growth at current point in time.
2 September 2022, Friday: US non-farm payrolls
The US labour market has fully recovered all of its jobs lost due to Covid-19, which highlights greater need for job gains to fall back to more normalised levels of the 200,000 monthly range. That has not materialised thus far, with job numbers blowing past expectations over the past four months. Another blowout reading will likely fuel louder calls for more aggressive tightening from the Fed to tame the overheated labour market, providing another headwind for equity bulls to overcome.
- 13 September 2022, Tuesday: CPI
- 14 September 2022, Wednesday: US PPI
The August readings for US headline inflation did provide some relief for markets after delivering its first downside surprise for the first time since March 2021, fuelling expectations that the worst is over in terms of pricing pressures. That said, a single data point does not make a trend. With markets having accustomed to the narrative that prices should continue to trend lower over the coming months, there are some pressure for inflation data to keep up with expectations. Current estimates are still pointing to an average of 7.5% for headline consumer price index (CPI) in quarter four (Q4) 2022, which could translate to the Fed maintaining its firm stance in taming inflation and we may have to see inflation readings around the low-5% range for some considerations of a dovish pivot. With the peaking-inflation narrative having been priced for now, further downside surprise in inflation data will be closely watched to push back against inflation being more persistent and hence, lesser pressure on Fed’s tightening.
Key market risk event: US FOMC meeting (20 – 21 September)
The upcoming month will bring the next long-awaited Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, where the debate will continue to revolve around whether a 75 basis-point (bp) or a 50 bp hike is warranted. With the higher-for-longer stance for rates coming from various Fed members, the Fed Funds futures are currently placing its firm bet on a 75 bp increase with a 68.5% chance. A 75 bp hike may sound daunting, but if the Fed can provide indication of a subsequent rate slowdown, sell-off could potentially be short-lived. With talks surfacing of a higher-than-4% terminal rate, the fresh dot plot will be closely watched for any push-back as market expectations are still pricing for a 3.75% terminal range.
Technical analysis – S&P 500
After a failed retest of the 4,200 support level to end last week, the S&P 500 has crashed through its 100-day moving average (MA), with the series of lower highs and lower lows reinforcing an overall downward bias. The index has failed to defend its key psychological 4,000 level this week, which will now serve as resistance to overcome. Near-term support may be at the 3,915 level, but with the bears currently in control, any rebound from this level could leave the formation of a lower high on watch.
This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
Seize your opportunity
Deal on the world’s stock indices today.
- Trade on rising or falling markets
- Get one-point spreads on the FTSE 100
- Unrivalled 24-hour pricing
See opportunity on an index?
Try a risk-free trade in your demo account, and see whether you’re on to something.
- Log in to your demo
- Try a risk-free trade
- See whether your hunch pays off
See opportunity on an index?
Don’t miss your chance – upgrade to a live account to take advantage.
- Get spreads from one point on the FTSE 100
- Trade more 24-hour indices than any other provider
- Analyse and deal seamlessly on smart, fast charts
See opportunity on an index?
Don’t miss your chance. Log in to take your position.
Live prices on most popular markets
Prices above are subject to our website terms and agreements. Prices are indicative only. All share prices are delayed by at least 15 minutes.
You might be interested in…
Find out what charges your trades could incur with our transparent fee structure.
Discover why so many clients choose us, and what makes us a world-leading provider of spread betting and CFDs.
Stay on top of upcoming market-moving events with our customisable economic calendar.