July by the Numbers

So ends the best month for stocks since January 2010.

Fresh off a mini-pullback of 5.8%, the S&P 500 gained 5% in July, marking the best month since just after the recession ended.

Here are some other numbers from a historic July:

  • Eighteen companies went public this month, marking the busiest July for IPOs since 2007.
  • Small caps also had a banner month. The iShares Russell 2000 Index (NYSE: IWM) shot up 5% too, eclipsing the 100 mark for the first time in the ETF’s history.
  • Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) was the best performer of any large cap stock, rising 52% thanks mostly to last week’s huge post-earnings bump.
  • Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) rediscovered its mojo, advancing nearly 11% to close above $450 a share for the first time since May.
  • Housing stocks surprisingly slipped. The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (NYSE: ITB) ETF fell nearly 3% this month, while the SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSE: XHB) ETF was flat.
  • The two biggest commodities bounced back: gold advanced 6.3%, while oil topped $100 a barrel for the first time in over a year.
  • Volatility subsided. After topping 20 late last month, the VIX declined 18% this month, closing July at 13.45 – lower than it was at the beginning of June.
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