The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY ) debuted in 1993 and became one of the most popular investment vehicles in the world. Over that two-decade period, SPY has seen its fair share of market ups and downs, including some historic bull runs and crashes. We took a look back at SPY over the years to find its best and worst trading days, with one caveat: we excluded 2008.
Given the massive volatility that the 2008 crisis brought, almost all of the worst and best trading days for the fund occur in the latter half of that year, which is why we omitted that year from this list.
The Best of SPY
The following chart displays the five best trading days for SPY:
- 3/23/2009: SPY managed to notch a substantial gain as markets finally began to turn around. March of 2009 marks the end of the Great Recession and the beginning of the U.S. economic recovery, so it’s no surprise to see it pop up in this list. This date saw the Treasury announce its plan to purchase billions in bad bank assets, as well as an encouraging housing report.
- 3/10/2009: The day prior to March 10, 2009 is cited as the final day of the recession. On this day, the Citibank CEO noted that it had been profitable for the first two months of the year and was enjoying a strong quarter, bringing some much-needed optimism back to the financial world.
- 7/24/2002: A few good news pieces in corporate America and a relentless sell-off prior to this date led to investors flooding back in to the market. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA ) saw its second largest gain ever (up to that point).
- 1/7/2000: As the height of the Internet Bubble neared, stocks still had a bit of life and a lot of volatility. After a nice spike early in the year, SPY would go on a back-and-forth ride for the rest of 2000, eventually leading to a peak and a recession.
- 10/28/1997: The day prior to October 28, 1997 saw a “mini-crash” that was spawned by the Asian Financial crisis and actually forced trading to be halted for 30 minutes. Markets opened lower on the 28th before quickly spiking. A record was set for both the NYSE and Nasdaq (QQQ ) as each exchange saw over 1 billion total shares traded.
The Worst of SPY
The following chart displays the five worst trading days for SPY:
- 10/27/1997: As noted above, the 27th suffered from a harsh mini-crash due to the Asian Financial Crisis. At the time, many indexes saw record volume and markets hit two circuit breakers, meaning they were halted twice with the second halt ending the trading day.
- 8/31/1998: Uncertainty over the economic stability of Russia, and data showing a slowdown in the U.S. economy, brought markets to their knees on this day. The NYSE saw a total of $589 billion in market cap losses across all of the stocks it hosted at the time.
- 8/8/2011: Something of a deadly cocktail hit markets on this day. The U.S. credit rating was downgraded, poor economic news was released, and fears over the debt crisis in Europe persisted. The Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index lost approximately $1 trillion in value for this trading session.
- 4/14/2000: The 14th was a Friday, and this sell-off sparked the worst trading week in history for the Nasdaq as well as the biggest single-session point loss for the Dow. The rough trading day came after it was shown that inflation had a sudden uptick, worrying many that the Fed would have to raise rates earlier than the market had anticipated.
- 1/20/2009: On the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, markets had their minds elsewhere; poor earnings hit the Street and bank stocks especially hard. At the time, fears of a deeper recession persisted, worrying many that the end of the crisis was still not near.
The Bottom Line
SPY has survived some of the most volatile and prosperous market conditions in history and will continue to be a staple fund in the investing world moving forward.
Follow me on Twitter @JaredCummans.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.