Over the past 33 years the DJIA has declined 22 times and advanced 11 with an average loss of 0.76% near the end of March. S&P 500 has a similar track record. Excluding advancing years, the average decline is right around 1.5% for DJIA and S&P 500. End-of-quarter portfolio restructuring likely plays a role as managers lock in any gains and establish positions for the next quarter. These declines can begin on either the fourth-to-last trading day or the third.
As of Friday’s close, DJIA was down this March while S&P 500 was fractionally positive. Historically end-of-Q1 weakness has occurred regardless of how strong or weak the month had been. In 2009 DJIA was up 12.20% and still declined 3.98% over the last three trading days. DJIA was down 11.24% in 2020 and lost another 2.82% at month’s end.