A Barometer for a Stormy Market

Stocks' performance in January can signal their direction for the rest of the year. Here are some sectors and companies that could buck the downtrend

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 6.1% in January, marking the fifth worst opening-month performance since 1928. The 7.6% decline in January, 1970, was the largest, which was challenged right up until the last two trading days of the current-year month on intensifying worries over an accelerating slide in U.S. economic growth, and a more broadly accepted perception that the Federal Reserve was increasingly behind the curve in terms of interest rate cuts.

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