Running to Stand Still: Spate of Wide Swings Leaves S&P 500 Flat

2015: The Market That Went Nowhere
  • Number of 1% moves rise in December though index barely moves
  • Intraday swings in S&P 500 this year average most since 2008

For U.S. stocks, it’s been a wild ride to nowhere.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has registered a move of at least 1 percent on a closing basis 11 times in the past 20 days, putting December on pace to be one of the bumpiest months for U.S. stock investors who have seen that type of back-and-forth only two other times since 2011.

Yet the stock market overall hasn’t changed much -- the benchmark index is nearly flat in both December and the full year, even as one measure of volatility jumped throughout 2015. The difference between the highest point and the lowest point touched by the S&P 500 during daily trading sessions averaged 23 points this year, the most since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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